Uttarakhand News

Uttarakhand: World Bank sanctions $100 million loan for better healthcare

The international financial institution World Bank has inked a landmark heath care deal worth 100 million USD with Centre and government of Uttarakhand. Under the Uttarakhand Health Systems Development Project, the financial assistance from World Bank would certainly be instrumental in improving the quality of healthcare in all 13 districts of Uttarakhand. Majority of Uttarakhand lies in the mountainous region, where the healthcare services have been practically non-functional.

World Bank sanctioned $100 million loan towards better healthcare in Uttarakhand. (Image Source)

The 100-million USD credit agreement was signed among Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, on behalf of the Government of India; Government of Uttarakhand; and World Bank India, on behalf of the World Bank.  The credit is granted by International Development Association (IDA) – the World Bank’s concessionary lending arm, with a maturity of 25 years, including a 5-year grace period.

Details of Uttarakhand Health Systems Development Project under World Bank. (Image Source)

In a statement released by World Bank, it has highlighted the inadequate healthcare services received due to various factors that comes into play at higher altitudes.

“While Uttarakhand performs better than the national average on many key health indicators, access to quality health services is a challenge, particularly in remote mountainous areas. To help address these challenges, the primary focus of the Project will be to make a sustainable change in the availability of quality healthcare services, particularly for the poor and underserved population.”

– Hisham Abdo Kahin, Operations Manager and Acting Bank Country Director, World Bank, India

Why healthcare is virtually non-functional in remote mountainous region ?

While the urban and plain regions of Uttarakhand have adequate healthcare facilities, both public and private, the hilly areas in Uttarakhand have suffered the worst due to its remote geography. Private healthcare providers find it difficult to sustain in remote hilly regions due to lack of infrastructure, road connectivity and basic amenities. Due to this, retention and deployment of health care staff has been extremely difficult in these regions. The state’s difficult and natural disaster-prone terrain adds to the challenge.

According to the 2013 reports, there was a 48% vacancy in general health staff and 75% vacancy in specialists’ posts. That is an alarming data. Even the contractual employment and incentives for remote area postings couldn’t lure doctors and medical staffs to the remote region of Uttarakhand.

CLICK HERE to read about the World Bank Uttarakhand Heath project in detail.