In order to improve primary health care in urban areas of 13 states, the Government of India (GOI) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) signed a loan of $ 300 million (Rs 2,235 crore). It will benefit more than 256 million city dwellers, including 51 million slums, and strengthen comprehensive primary health care and pandemic preparedness in urban areas. The 13 states where the program will be implemented are Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Haryana, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Telangana and West Bengal.
GOI and ABD sign $ 300 million loan to improve primary health care
According to the press release from the Ministry of Finance, Rajat Kumar Mishra, additional secretary, Department of Economic Affairs of the Ministry of Finance, signed the agreement on behalf of the Indian government while Takeo Konishi, country director of the resident mission of the ADB in India, signed for ADB.
“The program supports major Indian government health initiatives – Ayushman Bharat Health and Wellness Centers (AB-HWC) and Pradhan Mantri Atmanirbhar Swasth Bharat Yojana (PM-ASBY) – which has been renamed Pradhan Mantri Ayushman Bharat Health Infrastructure Mission (PM -ABHIM) – expanding the availability and access to quality primary health care services, especially for vulnerable populations in urban areas, ”Mishra told ANI
Ayushman Bharat was launched in 2018 and aims to improve access to comprehensive primary health care as a key strategy to achieve universal health coverage in India. With the spread of the coronavirus disease pandemic (COVID-19) putting additional strain on the country’s health system, the government launched PM-ASBY later renamed PM-ABHIM in October 2021 to take an approach to long-term system strengthening to prepare for future pandemics and other emergencies.
“Ensuring equitable access to non-COVID-19 primary health care is essential amid the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic to the Indian health system,” Konishi said.
In addition to the pandemic response, the program promotes increased use of urban health and wellness centers with the provision of comprehensive primary health care packages, including noncommunicable diseases and community outreach services such as clinics. awareness raising activities on health care options, especially for women. Through digital tools, quality assurance mechanisms, and engagement and partnership with the private sector, health information and delivery systems for primary health care will be improved.
The program is supported by a $ 2 million technical assistance grant from the AfDB’s Japan Poverty Reduction Fund to support program implementation and coordination, capacity building, innovation, knowledge sharing and application of evolving best practices across the health system.