The World Bank and India on Friday signed two complementary loans of $500 million each to support and enhance the country’s healthcare infrastructure, reported news agency PTI. According to the report the agreement was signed by Rajat Kumar Mishra, Additional Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, and World Bank India country director Auguste Tano Kouamé.
The multilateral funding agency in a statement said that through this combined financing of $1 billion, the bank 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 prioritize health service delivery in seven states including Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Meghalaya, Odisha, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, and Uttar Pradesh, the World Bank said.
Auguste Tano Kouamé said 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. 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 to the population of the states participating in the projects and will generate positive spillovers for other states.
According to the 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, the report said.
The under-five mortality rate (36 per 1,000 live births), the infant mortality rate (30 per 1,000 live births), and the 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.
The World Bank said that despite these advances in the health of the Indian population, COVID-19 has underscored the need for revitalizing, reforming, and developing capacity for core public health functions, as well as for improving the quality and comprehensiveness of health service delivery.