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Minister of Finance Alexandru Nazare and World Bank Country Manager for Romania and Hungary in the Europe and Central Asia Region Tatiana Proskuryakova signed today in Bucharest the loan agreement for the additional 150 million euro funding aimed at supporting the health reform project - improving the quality and efficiency of the health system, a press release of the Finance Ministry informs.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has put health systems around the world under immense pressure and highlighted the need to increase the system's capacity to respond quickly and efficiently to new challenges and ensure its resilience, all the more so as medical needs are manifold and complex. As Minister of Finance, I will determinedly act in this direction and give permanent priority to the health sector. The financial assistance signed today, together with the support and technical expertise provided by the World Bank in the health sector, represent a step forward in the actions we undertake to ensure non-discriminatory access of citizens to health services based on best practices in the field. In addition to the investments already started in the initial project, this additional funding will ensure the modernization of the telemedicine system, the improvement of the screening network for cervical cancer, the acquisition of equipment for the burn centres and the construction of the two burn centers within the "Grigore Alexandrescu" Emergency Clinical Hospital for Children and the Targu-Mures Emergency Clinical Hospital, respectively," said the Minister of Finance Alexandru Nazare.

This funding complements the initial 250 million-euro loan from the World Bank, which is currently being implemented.

"Equal access to a high quality medical system is crucial for the sustainable development of Romania, and the well-being of all citizens should always be a priority. Healthy life expectancy in Romania is among the lowest in the European Union, both for men and for women, while early deaths from preventable diseases and their complications often affect the poorest 40 percent of society. By approving this additional funding, we reiterate our support for the Romanian government to continue reforming the health care system and to invest more and more efficiently in solving the critical challenges in this vital sector," said Tatiana Proskuryakova, World Bank Country Manager for Romania.

The release states that, through the objectives pursued, the project responds to the critical needs of the health system, mainly by strengthening medical care in terms of treating major burn victims, diagnosis and treatment of cancer, as well as emergency medical care and intensive care.

The project implementation agency is the Ministry of Health, and the deadline for its completion is December 31, 2024.

The loan will be repaid in a single installment on March 1, 2033 and is granted at a variable interest rate based on the EURIBOR rate plus the Bank's variable margin (the current indicative rate being 0.83 percent). AGERPRES (RO - author: George Banciulea, editor: Andreea Marinescu; EN - author: Simona Iacob; editor: Simona Klodnischi)

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