Theodore Nkodo, vice-president of the African Development Bank (ADB) in charge of north, east and south operations and the private sector, and Yacin Elmi Bouh, minister of finance of Djibouti, have signed loan and grant agreements totalling 4mn units of account (UA), equivalent to US$5.94mn, to finance the Basic Health Services Reinforcement Project (Health I Project) in Djibouti.

Nkodo commended Djibouti for settling its payment arrears with the ADB. In his response, Yacin Elmi Bouh emphasised the good relations prevailing between Djibouti and the bank group, reinforced by the signing of these new agreements.

The project was approved by the board of directors of the African Development Fund (ADF) on July 17, 2003. It includes a loan of UA3mn, equivalent to US$4.46mn, and a grant of UA1mn, equivalent to US$1.49mn.

It will help improve the quality of health care services for mothers and children, improve surveillance and control of communicable diseases, and, more specifically, lower the risk of contamination by HIV infection and sexually transmitted infections. The project will help to strengthen the government’s efforts concerning its poverty reduction policy by improving the health status and living conditions of the population.

The project involves the extension and equipping of, and the supply of essential drugs, pharmaceutical products and consumables, and laboratory reagents to the Dar el Hannan Maternity Hospital, a national referral centre for maternal and child protection and reproductive health care. It will also help establish and equip a National Blood Transfusion Centre and four blood transfusion units.

The ADB’s operations in Djibouti started in 1979. To date, the group has committed a total of UA86.7mn, equivalent to US$118mn on 23 operations in the country. Disbursements stand at about US$87.06mn.