ADB approves €84.25m loan to improve environment and health services in Hezhou, PRC
Hezhou, a former mineral mining area, is among the least-developed cities in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a loan of €84.25 million ($100 million equivalent) to improve the environment and health services for residents in Hezhou, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, the People's Republic of China (PRC).
The multisector project will help reduce pollution in the Kedashan mountain area and provide essential and inclusive social services, including health and elderly care, and skills development in Pinggui District. It will also strengthen institutions and capacity to support Hezhou to be green, inclusive, healthy, and sustainable. The project is the first ADB project in the PRC that handles county-level district health system improvement and capacity building to improve township and village-level primary care medical services and quality.
"Hezhou is striving to restore the environment that has been damaged by mineral mining and industrial activities, and improving the service and quality of the health and elderly care system," said ADB Senior Urban Development Specialist Hinako Maruyama. "With this project, a total of 481,000 residents in Hezhou will benefit from strengthened environmental sustainability and improved health and elderly care services in urban and rural areas."
Hezhou, a former mineral mining area, is among the least-developed cities in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. The downturn of the mineral mining industry resulted in a dramatic deterioration in the provision of social services and employment in the city. Since many have lost their jobs, they have struggled to find new sources of income.
The project will implement nature-friendly measures to reduce pollution in the Kedashan former mineral mining area. This will involve the removal of abandoned polluting mining facilities, wastes, and tailings; restoration of damaged or exposed ground surface, including through planting of trees and vegetation; and nature-based treatment of polluted surface water. A long-term environment- and the pollution-monitoring system will be put in place and monitor the restoration progress.
Institutional mechanisms, skills capacities, and facilities in health and elderly care will be strengthened. To achieve this, the project will design a practical institutional working mechanism, system, and information platform to build a medical community, develop administration and technical capacity of health and elderly care personnel, establish working mechanisms and integration of medical and elderly care, and upgrade the equipment of nine township-level hospitals to improve primary-care service delivery and quality. The project will also support the construction of integrated health and elderly care centre and a county-level general public hospital. The buildings will consider the needs of women, persons with disabilities, the elderly, and ethnic minorities and will be certified green.
ADB financing will strengthen the institutions and staff capacity to manage and offer short- and medium-term practical vocational skills training at a Knowledge and Skills Sharing Center in Pinggui District. Residents will be provided with vocational skills development opportunities to match the latest market needs, including green and healthcare-related skills.
The total cost of the project is about $236 million, of which $136 million is counterpart financing from the government. The project is expected to be completed in 2027.