Washington DC June 8 2022: The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors today approved $258 million for the National Health Support Program (NHSP) to strengthen primary health care systems and to accelerate national efforts towards universal health coverage in Pakistan.
The program complements ongoing investments in human capital and builds on health reforms that aim to improve quality and equitable access to healthcare services, especially in communities lagging behind national and regional-level health outcomes.
“Pakistan continues to make strides in health reforms toward ensuring access to primary healthcare services, especially for children and women during pregnancy and childbirth,” said Najy Benhassine, World Bank Country Director for Pakistan. “By strengthening provincial health systems, this program is foundational to building the country’s human capital and improving health and nutrition outcomes for its citizens.”
The program will focus on healthcare reforms across three main areas:
Healthcare coverage and quality of essential services to ensure adequate staffing, supplies and medicines, and enhance patient referral systems to expedite emergency and higher-level care.
Governance and accountability to strengthen oversight and management of primary healthcare services through real-time monitoring of available supplies and essential medicines. This includes a central information platform for provincial authorities to assess gaps in service delivery across public and private healthcare facilities.
Healthcare financing to improve the financial management of primary healthcare centers for better expenditure tracking and budget forecasting to sustain quality healthcare services and delivery.
“NHSP creates a national forum for the federal and provincial governments to exchange lessons and collaborate on achieving sustainable health financing and high quality and coverage of essential services,” said Hnin Hnin Pyne, Task Team Leader for the Program. “It also helps strengthen engagement between public and private facilities and better coordination among development partners on future investments in health.”
The program will benefit all communities through improvements to provincial primary health care systems, particularly in approximately 20 districts that suffer from having the least access to health and nutrition services.
The NHSP is co-financed by the International Development Association ($258 million) and two grants ($82 million) from the Global Financing Facility for Women, Children and Adolescents (GFF), including a $40 million grant for protecting essential health services amid multiple global crises.
“The partnership between the GFF and the government of Pakistan focuses on building sustainable health systems while ensuring that all women, children and adolescents, especially in the most vulnerable communities can access the services they need amid multiple crises,” said Monique Vledder, Head of Secretariat, GFF. "By investing in primary health care, strengthening the health workforce and equipping community health centers to both respond to emergencies and deliver quality services, Pakistan can drive a more equitable and resilient recovery.”
The Global Financing Facility (GFF)
The GFF is a multistakeholder partnership of the World Bank that supports country-led efforts to improve the health of women, children and adolescents. With the GFF, countries are making smarter, more prioritized, results-focused investments toward greater impact on the health, nutrition and well-being of women, children and adolescents; building capacity for more sustainable funding for this agenda; and exploring more innovative ways to work with the private sector. Since the GFF was founded in 2015, partner countries have made significant progress to improve maternal and child health.
The World Bank in Pakistan
Pakistan has been a member of the World Bank since 1950. Since then, the World Bank has provided $40 billion in assistance. The World Bank’s program in Pakistan is governed by the Country Partnership Strategy for FY2015-2020 with four priority areas of engagement: energy, private sector development, inclusion, and service delivery. The current portfolio has 58 projects and a total commitment of $14 billion.