CHENNAI, July 6, 2010: A Credit Agreement of $117.70 million equivalent for the Tamil Nadu Health Systems Project was signed today by the representatives from the Government of India, the Government of Tamil Nadu and the World Bank. The signatories to the Agreement were Mr Anup K. Pujari, Joint Secretary, on behalf of the Government of India, Mr V.K. Subburaj, Principal Secretary Health, Government of Tamil Nadu and Ms Preeti Kudesia, Senior Public Health Specialist, World Bank, India.
This additional finance for the Tamil Nadu Health Systems Project is designed to improve quality of and access to health services in the state of Tamil Nadu. It was first approved on December 16, 2004 with an IDA credit amount of $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*.
“Tamil Nadu has made impressive progress in improving maternal and child health, and further improvements could be achieved by improving the overall quality of care, particularly for provision of comprehensive emergency obstetric and neonatal care,” said Preeti Kudesia, World Bank Senior 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 is from the International Development Association (IDA) – the World Bank’s concessionary lending arm – which provides interest-free loans with 35 years to maturity and a 10-year grace period.
*(Source for maternal mortality ratio is SRS – Sample Registration System)