The World Bank and India signed two complimentary loans on Friday (March 4) totaling US$ 500 million each, in order to strengthen and improve the nation’s healthcare infrastructure.
The bank will support India’s Pradhan Mantri-Ayushman Bharat Health Infrastructure Mission (PM-ABHIM), launched in October 2021, to improve the public healthcare infrastructure across the nation, through this combined financing of US$ 1 billion (roughly 8,200 crores), the multilateral funding agency said in a statement.
One of the loans would prioritise health service delivery in seven states, including Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Meghalaya, Odisha, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, and Uttar Pradesh, in addition to the interventions at the national level, it stated.
Rajat Kumar Mishra, additional secretary for the department of economic affairs, and Auguste Tano Kouamé, country director for India at the World Bank, are listed as the signatories on the agreement.
The COVID-19 pandemic was a sharp reminder that pandemic preparedness is a global public good and brought to light the critical need for pandemic preparedness and health system improvement worldwide, according to Auguste Tano Kouamé.
According to the statement, the two projects are assisting India in its decision to strengthen the health system’s capacity to withstand probable pandemics. It also added that this decision will have a significant beneficial effect on the individuals of the states taking part in the projects as well as have positive spillover effects on other states.
India has become more efficient over time in the area of health. 69.8 years in 2020, up from 58 in 1990, is greater than the average life expectancy for the country’s socioeconomic level, according to World Bank projections.
Notwithstanding these improvements in the health of the Indian population, COVID-19 has emphasised the need for kickstarting, reforming, and building capacity for fundamental public health responsibilities, as well as for raising the standard and comprehensiveness of health care delivery, it stated.
(With inputs from agencies)