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March 29, 2009

Philippines secures $ 50m healthcare loan from ADB
The government has secured a $50-million loan from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to improve the quality of health care in the country and to make these services more accessible and affordable to the poor, reported the Manila Bulletin.

The project will focus on cities and municipalities outside the capital region of Metro Manila and is expected to result in increased use of basic healthcare and referral services by the poor, and by women and children in particular.

The loan will finance the construction of new public health facilities and provide state-of-the-art equipment to existing facilities, with a particular focus on providers of maternal and child care health services and partnerships with the private sector.

This will help facilities qualify for higher accreditation and increased financing from the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PHIC), and reduce the out-of-pocket payment of healthcare.

The Better Health Care Project will also provide financial support to small private health care providers such as midwifery clinics, diagnostic facilities, and community drug stores to allow them to move closer to rural communities.

It will also provide funds for capital investment and working capital to promote a more efficient healthcare delivery system through the outsourcing of services, and establishing private insurance schemes.

The ADB loan will be coursed through the Sustainable Health Care Investment Program, a credit facility established by the Development Bank of the Philippines to support the government’s health sector reform agenda and implementation framework, Formula One for Health.

Demand for health services remains low among the poor and vulnerable groups, due to various reasons including the relatively high cost of medicines. Estimates suggest that around 30 to 40 percent of the population finds it difficult to pay for drugs.

The ADB loan will have a 25-year repayment term, including a grace period of six years and an interest rate determined in accordance with ADB’s London interbank offered rate (LIBOR)-based lending facility.

The Gender and Development Cooperation Fund (GDCF) will provide a grant of up to $400,000, to be administered by ADB. The GDCF’s contributors are the governments of Canada, Denmark, Ireland, and Norway.

A technical assistance grant of $1 million will be financed by the Japan Special Fund to build capacity for public-private partnership in health services.


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