World Bank sets $875.3 million for women's, children's health

NEW YORK (AFP) - World Bank President Jim Yong Kim announced on Monday that at least US$700 million (S$875.3 million) would be made available over the next two years for women's and children's health needs in poor countries.

Speaking at the United Nations, Mr Kim said the money was to help developing countries meet the targets of the Millennium Development Goals, by focusing programs on achieving results rather than just the gross deployment of resources.

"We need to inject greater urgency into our collective efforts to save more women and children's lives, and evidence shows that results-based financing has significant impact," Mr Kim said, according to his prepared remarks.

"The World Bank Group is committed to using evidence-based approaches to help ensure that every woman and every child can get the affordable, quality health care necessary to survive and live a healthy, productive life." The new funding comes from the World Bank's International Development Association, and adds to US$600 million pledged for IDA grograms related to the millenium goals in 2010.

The bank said its approach has fostered concrete results in reducing maternal and infant mortality and in expanding health care access.

For instance, it said, its approach enabled sharp gains in just one year in Burundi: births at health facilities increased 25 per cent, prenatal consultations rose 20 per cent, and the number of children fully vaccinated increased by 10 per cent.

Mr Kim was speaking at a meeting of international political, business and development-focused leaders on how to achieve the anti-poverty Millennium Development Goals with just over two years to go before the target date.

The goals, established in 2000, lay out tough targets for reducing poverty and hunger, improving education, and improving health and health care for the world's most impoverished.

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