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World Bank Approves $500 Million Loan To Boost Morocco’s Health And Social Protection Reforms

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(CTN News) – On Tuesday, the World Bank disclosed that its Board of Directors had sanctioned a fresh $500 million loan, intended to support Morocco’s health and social protection reforms.

The bank communicated this development through a press release, emphasizing that the loan is designed to enhance the safeguarding of the most vulnerable communities against health and climate-related risks.

Furthermore, the loan aims to strengthen resilience in the face of catastrophic events, as stated in the press release. It was highlighted that this financial allocation constitutes the second installment in a series of three operations dedicated to backing Morocco’s reform program.

According to Jesko Hentschel, the Country Director for the Maghreb and Malta at the World Bank, Morocco, like numerous other nations, confronts a succession of challenges, with the most vulnerable populations bearing the brunt of the impact.

World Bank and Morocco Forge Crucial Partnership to Bolster Healthcare

Hentschel, quoted in the press release, underscored the significance of the partnership between the World Bank and Morocco.

Despite the evident resilience demonstrated by Moroccans, he emphasized that the institution’s contribution remains pivotal.

Hentschel articulated, “To support them in this effort, the Government will continue to expand health insurance coverage, promote greater access to affordable health care nationwide, strengthen governance in the healthcare sector, support the implementation of the direct social benefits program, and improve protection against climatic risks.”

In essence, Hentschel highlighted the multifaceted approach that the Moroccan government, in collaboration with the World Bank, aims to undertake.

This comprehensive strategy involves broadening the scope of health insurance coverage, ensuring widespread access to affordable healthcare, enhancing governance within the healthcare sector, facilitating the implementation of direct social benefits, and fortifying measures to shield against climatic risks.

The concerted efforts are geared towards not only addressing current challenges but also fostering long-term resilience and well-being for the population.

World Bank Applauds Moroccan Healthcare Reforms and Social Protection Initiatives

The World Bank acknowledged the Moroccan government’s initiatives in the health sector, specifically citing reforms that expanded access to healthcare through the Mandatory Health Insurance (AMO).

The bank highlighted significant progress, noting that the number of individuals eligible for AMO had more than doubled, surging from 10 million (beneficiaries of RAMED, the medical assistance plan) to 22 million (eligible for AMO-Tadamon and AMO-TNS).

In addition to these efforts, the World Bank outlined that the newly approved $500 million loan would play a pivotal role in supporting reforms related to the implementation of the direct social benefits program, which King Mohammed VI inaugurated in October 2023.

Describing this program as a “crucial step in the harmonization and expansion of the social protection system,” the bank underscored its commitment to facilitating these transformative changes.

The statement concluded with the World Bank reaffirming its commitment to bolstering Morocco’s social protection and health reforms.

Addressing Healthcare Challenges in Morocco: Urgent Calls for Comprehensive Action

Amidst challenges faced by the healthcare sector, various reports, including the 2023 Court of Audits report, have urged the government to address the situation comprehensively.

The report highlighted a range of challenges, with a notable concern being the significantly low number of health workers in Morocco’s health facilities.

By the end of 2021, the report warned, the number of health workers per 1,000 capita stood at 1.64, well below the minimum requirement of 4.45 set by the United Nations (UN) to achieve sustainable development goals.

The pressing need for addressing these challenges underscores the importance of the World Bank’s ongoing support and the Moroccan government’s commitment to advancing healthcare accessibility and quality.

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