WB signs USD 1 billion loan to support India's health sector; prioritises 7 states, including Kerala

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New Delhi: The Government of India and the World Bank signed two complementary loans of USD 500 million each to support and enhance India's health sector development.

According to a release by World Bank on March 3, this combined financing of USD 1 billion will support India's flagship Pradhan Mantri-Ayushman Bharat Health Infrastructure Mission (PM-ABHIM), launched in October 2021, to improve the public healthcare infrastructure across the country.

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

The agreement was signed by Rajat Kumar Mishra, Additional Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance on behalf of the Government of India and Auguste Tano Kouame, Country Director, India, World Bank.

"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 Kouame.

"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," Kouame added.

India's performance in health has improved over time. According to World Bank 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. (ANI)

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