Home / News / India /  World Bank to support India with $1 billion to boost public health infra

New Delhi : The World Bank and India on Friday signed two complementary loans of $500 million each to support and boost the country’s public healthcare system.

Through this combined financing of $1 billion, World Bank will support India’s flagship Pradhan Mantri-Ayushman Bharat Health Infrastructure Mission (PM-ABHIM), to improve public healthcare infrastructure across the country, the multi-lateral agency said in a statement.

The agreement was signed by Rajat Kumar Mishra, additional secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, and Auguste Tano Kouamé, country director, India, World Bank.

In addition to the national level interventions, one of the loans will prioritise health service delivery in seven states - Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Meghalaya, Odisha, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, and Uttar Pradesh.

“The COVID-19 pandemic brought to the fore the urgent need for pandemic preparedness and health system strengthening around the world and was a stark reminder that pandemic preparedness is a global public good," said Auguste Tano Kouamé. “The two projects are supporting India’s decision to increase the resilience and preparedness of the country’s health systems against future pandemics. This will be of great benefit for the populations of the states participating in the projects and will generate positive spillovers for other states."

According to the World Bank statement, the $500 million Public Health Systems for Pandemic Preparedness Program (PHSPP) will support the government’s efforts to prepare India’s surveillance system to be ready to detect and report epidemics of potential international concern, ensure rapid response, and prevent emergence of pathogens.

It will also, “Enhance India’s capacity to detect pathogens, including zoonotic diseases, to inform India’s bio-security response and commercialization of new technologies to prevent, detect or treat infectious diseases. Strengthen coordination and build institutional capacity of core public health institutions to implement the program and deliver high-quality results."

The other project, i.e, $500 million Enhanced Health Service Delivery Program (EHSDP) will support government’s efforts to strengthen service delivery through a redesigned primary health care model, which includes improved household access to primary healthcare facilities, stronger links between each household and its primary care facility through regular household visits and risk assessment of noncommunicable diseases.

According to the World Bank, India’s performance in health has improved over time. According to its estimates, India’s life expectancy—at 69.8 in 2020, up from 58 in 1990—is higher than the average for the country’s income level.

The under-five mortality rate (36 per 1,000 live births), infant mortality rate (30 per 1,000 live births), and maternal mortality ratio (103 per 100,000 live births) are all close to the average for India’s income level, reflecting significant achievements in access to skilled birth attendance, immunizations, and other priority services.

Priyanka Sharma
Priyanka Shamra is a health and pharma journalist with nearly nine years of field reporting experience. She is a special correspondent with Mint. Her beat includes covering the Ministry of Health and Department of Pharmaceuticals. She also covers the Ministry of Women and Child Development and the Department of Biotechnology.
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