Senegal’s Health and Nutrition Financing Project will provide health and nutrition services to women and children. This project will benefit six regions and 3.5 million people, with the greatest focus being upon impoverished families. Specifically, Senegal hopes this program will be able to significantly improve rates of both low birth weight and iron deficiency anemia.
To improve maternal and neonatal health, this project will provide pregnant women with at least four prenatal exams. To encourage poor women to seek appropriate medical care, the project will also distribute maternal health vouchers. Under this initiative, medical staff will receive additional training so that Senegal can increase the number of skilled medical personnel available to assist in births.
“Senegal has already made great strides in reducing child mortality by tackling childhood malnutrition and malaria, but there has been virtually no change in the maternal mortality rate. The new project will both encourage pregnant women to seek antenatal care and give birth in health facilities, as well as ensure that they receive high-quality services” explained Vera Songwe, Senegal’s Country Director for the World Bank.
This development will build upon other healthcare improvements taking place in Senegal over recent years. Most recently, in September of 2013, the government voted to introduce universal health coverage to all citizens by 2017. Free healthcare for all will improve access to medical care for the most impoverished and vulnerable populations. In the meantime, the government has agreed to provide medical services free to all children under the age of five in an effort to decrease morbidity and mortality in very young children sooner rather than later.
The government has proven its commitment to improving health outcomes through its recent success in reducing the incidence and impact of malnutrition. In response to a high level of food insecurity and malnutrition in young children, Senegal cooperated with several international organizations, including WHO, UNICEF and UNESCO, to develop the Joint Programme in 2009. This program reduced malnutrition levels by improving monitoring, promoting healthier feeding through local food sources, and providing children with antiparasitics and micronutrients. The Health and Nutrition Financing Project seeks to continue this trend towards a healthier population.
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