By Wafa A.Alkhazzan
The World Bank has approved a $10 million project to improve maternal, prenatal, and reproductive services for more than 255, 000 women in rural Yemen. The fund will provide for another $10 million aimed at research, bringing the total to $20 million to be spent in the three provinces of Sana’a, Ta’iz, and Hadramout. The project focuses on improving access to paid health services, and provides financial assistance as well as project management.
In Yemen, there are many challenges related to the health care sector, and many suffer from the burden of illness. Infectious diseases are a major national challenge, with many vulnerable populations like women, children, and the elderly. Every day, six women die from childbirth, and 180 children die from preventable illnesses.
Family Health in Yemen has published a survey that places maternal deaths in Yemen at 365/100, 000 births, which goes against the Ministry of Public Health and Population’s goal to reduce this figure to 75/100, 000 by the year 2015 as part of the Millennium Development Goals.
Yemen has prepared a plan to accelerate rural growth to meet the Millennium Development Goals related to child mortality and maternal health. Alaa Mahmoud Hamid, specialist in health affairs at the World Bank, was excited at the project.
“Women in remote areas will not be able to have access to safe maternal and prenatal care, as well as family planning, but also additional benefits that will cover moving costs, accommodations, and food. The project will meet the needs of their offspring’s family planning as well.”
The project is expected to be a major part of the new social development fund, which will supervise a wider health voucher program.