Washington, DC (BBN) – The World Bank Tuesday approved a US$24 million credit providing further support to improve health service delivery program in Sri Lanka.

The credit from the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank’s concessionary lending arm, has 20 years to maturity with a 10-year grace period, the World Bank said.

“Half the project’s amount, namely US$12 million, will go to the Northern and Eastern Provinces to help them meet their special health needs arising from the conflict. This reflects the Bank’s commitment to addressing consequences of the conflict whenever we can,” World Bank Country Director for Sri Lanka Naoko Ishii said in a press statement.   

The US$24 million is additional financing to Health Sector Development Project (HSDP), currently financed by an IDA grant of US$60 million which was approved by the Bank on June 15, 2004.

An immediate challenge is to provide basic health services to the conflict-affected populations in the Northern and Eastern Provinces, including around 280,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) currently residing in temporary camps, the statement said.

The project will continue to support decentralization of health service delivery, including strengthening of district and provincial capacity for planning and implementation of health programs.

“It will also support efforts to improve service delivery and renovate health facilities, provide training for health workers, and provision of medical supplies and equipment,” it added.

BBN/SS/SI/AD-24June09-10:44 am (BST)