India signs USD 1-bn loan pact with World Bank to boost healthcare infra

World Bank estimates says India’s life expectancy at 69.8 in 2020, up from 58 in 1990s, is higher than the average for the income level.
World Bank (File photo| AP)
World Bank (File photo| AP)

NEW DELHI: India on Friday signed an agreement with the World Bank for two complementary loans of USD 500 million each to further strengthen the healthcare infrastructure in the country. The loan pact for USD 1 billion (approximately Rs 8,200 crore) will help the flagship Pradhan Mantri-Ayushman Bharat Health Infrastructure Mission to improve public healthcare infrastructure across the country.

As per the World Bank, one of the two loans will prioritise health service delivery in seven states – Kerala, Meghalaya, Odisha, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, and Uttar Pradesh. The pact was signed by Rajat Kumar Mishra, Additional Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, and World Bank India country director Auguste Tano Kouam’.

“The 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 Kouam’. The two projects are supporting India’s decision to increase the resilience and preparedness of the country’s health systems against future pandemics, the World Bank statement said.

World Bank estimates say India’s life expectancy at 69.8 in 2020, up from 58 in the 1990s, is higher than the average for the income level.

In addition, 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, immunisations and other priority services.

However, the pandemic has underscored the need for revitalising reforming, and developing capacity for core public health functions, as well as for improving the quality and comprehensiveness of health service delivery, the World Bank said.

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