ISLAMABAD: The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors has approved $46 million in financing for the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Citizen Centred Service Delivery Project to “promote the access to child health services in selected districts of the province.”

The project will also support both supply and demand side interventions to improve health service delivery in the province, as well as the operations of citizen-centric administrative facilitation centers in tribal districts, according to a news release issued by the World Bank’s Resident Mission in Islamabad on Friday.

The WB’s resident mission said that public service delivery in tribal districts, including in the health sector, had been weak and that many areas had little or no access to basic services.

It said around four years after the merger of Fata-KP, tribal districts continued to suffer from lack of services and poor local administration.

Says health service delivery in tribal districts weak

The missions said that the targets related to the local governance and institutional reforms, local administrative capacity to deliver basic services, and key financial investments continued to lag.

“With the current fiscal challenges, it is likely that the expected reforms and improvements in service delivery will be challenging, resulting in further marginalisation of vulnerable segments of population in tribal districts, especially women and children,” it said.

The WB’s resident mission said around 300,000 children under the age of two would benefit from the “child welfare grants.”

“To mitigate the financial barriers associated with the use of these services, families of these children will receive Rs12,500, spread over five visits, for attending the health awareness sessions and growth monitoring of their child,” it said.

In the news release, World Bank country director for Pakistan Najy Benhassine said that the project would support the KP government in expanding the provision of child wellness grants targeted at mothers provided they attended health awareness sessions.

“It will also help improve access to quality child health-related services,” he said.

Mr Najy Benhassine said that the project would also support the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government in adoption of the one-window operation model of the citizen facilitation centres to promote essential service delivery to the local population.

He said the CFCs, in addition to provision of Child Wellness Grants, offered vital services to the local communities such as registration services, including recording of birth, death, marriage, divorce and family registration.

He added that 560,000 people would utilise the services provided at CFCs.

Meanwhile, Task Team Leader for the project Amjad Zafar Khan said that the project would facilitate the transition of the programme to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa bridging the continuity of the activities under the 40 CFCs already established with the support of the federal government.

He said that conflict and militancy had impacted service delivery and infrastructure in tribal districts, and around 340,000 families were displaced following interventions against militants in five tribal districts of those areas.

“Families in crisis-affected areas moved out because of significant damage to infrastructure, lack of social services, and economic shocks such as loss of livelihood and a reduction in earnings that led to insufficient food consumption and undesirable coping strategies,” he said.

Published in Dawn, July 8th, 2023

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