World Bank pats AP for focus on health, loans $329 million

With Andhra Pradesh demonstrating a drastic improvement in health services, World Bank has inked a loan agreement of $328 Million with the State Government to help improve the quality of public health services in Andhra Pradesh.  
According to World Bank, the state had allocated 5 percent of its total public expenditure towards health in 2017-18, it and has initiated significant steps towards strengthening its public health system. Maternal mortality ratio in the state declined by 52 percent and infant mortality fell to 35 per 1,000 live births from 54 over the decade from 2005. Ninety-three percent of women now opt for institutional deliveries. 
Despite these positive steps, there are disparities within the state in coverage of maternal and child health services and quality of service delivery. Non-communicable diseases are also on the rise and form 60 percent of Andhra's burden of disease, a World Bank executive informed.
The World Bank Loan will support the Government of Andhra Pradesh (GoAP) as it scales-up its efforts to bring better health care to all its citizens, especially pregnant women and those at risk of non-communicable diseases, like hypertension, diabetes, and cervical cancer.   
According to the World Bank executive, this New Project will help leverage the State’s own systems and processes and build capacity, thus enhancing the sustainability of the interventions. Public health institutions in the state will be strengthened through the generation of quality information and its use in day-to-day management, and resource allocation process. Public feedback will be sought as a performance indicator for the State’s Public Health Institutions.  
Earlier, Junaid Ahmad, Country Director, World Bank said that Andhra Pradesh has been fully committed to improving its health outcomes. The Project will support the state in adopting innovative and technologically-driven approaches to improve access and quality of health services. 
He further said that the Project will support certification of health centers when they achieve and maintain quality standards; engagement of private service providers for improved quality of care; improved pharmaceutical stock management system; integrated online patient management system; and empanelment of private pharmacies to dispense State-financed drugs to improve their access to the population. It will also support the rollout of a system for measuring and reporting on patient experience.  
Mohini Kak, World Bank Task Team Leader for the Project said that today, a primary health care facility exists for every 5,721 population on average in Andhra Pradesh and a secondary/tertiary care facility exists for every 200,000 population in the state. A continued focus on the quality of care and availability of services will ensure quality health services to all, especially the poor.  
The $328 Million Loan from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) has a 23.5-year maturity which includes a 6-year grace period.

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