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World Bank Provides US$118 Million to Improve Health Systems in Tamil Nadu, India

April 29, 2010

WASHINGTON, DC, April 29, 2010 - The World Bank today approved a US$$117.70 million IDA credit to India, designed to improve quality of and access to health services in the state of Tamil Nadu. This comes as additional financing to the Tamil Nadu Health Systems Project which was approved on December 16, 2004 with an IDA credit amount of US$110.83 million.

Tamil Nadu has made significant strides in improving the health status and increasing access to health care services in the last decade. According to the most recent National Family Health Survey (2005-2006), the state’s infant mortality rate dropped 35 percent since the previous survey (1998-1999).  These improvements are in part due to a significant increase in overall vaccination coverage of children between 12 and 23 months. The overall nutrition status of children under age 3 also has improved, with an 18 percent reduction in underweight children. The state’s maternal mortality ratio decreased from 167 deaths per 100,000 live births in 1999 to 111 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2006[1].

“Tamil Nadu has made impressive progress in improving maternal and child health, and further improvements would be achieved by improvement in the overall quality of care, particularly for provision of comprehensive emergency obstetric and neonatal care,” said Preeti Kudesia, World Bank Sr. Public Health specialist and project team leader. “The additional funding will support the continuation of successful activities, and will particularly focus on improving the quality of health care provision. The project will also enhance access to and utilization of health services by the state’s poor, remote, and tribal populations.”

Over the past four years, the project has helped establish 80 Comprehensive Emergency Obstetrics and Neonatal Centers throughout the state, leading to improved access and quality of care for pregnant women and infants. It has also provided 385 ambulances, which have strengthened the Emergency Transport Services in rural areas in Tamil Nadu. Health services in tribal areas of the state have also improved through mobile outreach services and supporting sickle cell anemia screening interventions and patient counseling services.

These well-performing programs supported by the original project that will be scaled up include state-wide expansion of non-communicable disease prevention and control activities, which are currently active in two districts in the state. The additional financing will also support state-wide implementation of hospital and health management information systems, and the strengthening and monitoring of maternal and neonatal health services at the tertiary level.

The credit from the International Development Association (IDA) has a 35 year maturity including a 10-year grace period.

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