Project Signing: Government of India and World Bank Sign $70 Million Agreement for Karnataka Health System Development and Reform Project

November 20, 2012

So far the project has helped over 19,000 poor patients receive hospital care from public and private institutions

NEW DELHI, November 20, 2012 - The government of India, the government of Karnataka and the World Bank today signed a $70 million additional credit agreement for the ongoing Karnataka Health System Development and Reform Project to further support improvements in health service delivery, particularly for the benefit of underserved areas and vulnerable groups.

This project builds on the successful experience of the original $141.83 million project. Since 2006, the project has contributed to development of the state’s health system, including improving administrative capacity and planning, investing in maternal health services, contracting non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to run mobile health clinics, supporting community-level public health interventions, and contributing to a state government scheme that purchases hospital services for poor beneficiaries from accredited public and private hospitals. The project has contributed to progress in a number of health indicators – the proportion of births delivered in a health facility has risen from 65 percent in 2005-06 to 86 percent in 2009; the proportion of children fully immunized has increased from 55 percent in 2005-06 to 78 percent in 2009; and 96 mobile health clinics are operational. According to a 2011 health facility survey, 83 percent of public health centers (PHCs) had a doctor present at the time of the survey, compared to only 35 percent in 2004; in 2011, 89 percent of PHCs had a functional labor room, compared to 67 percent in 2004. Today, over 1,000 PHCs across the state function 24 hours a day.

To date, a total of 19,000 poor patients have benefited from tertiary-level hospital services they would otherwise have had great difficulty in accessing.

“The additional financing will continue to support the state government’s strategy to improve health services in the areas of primary and maternal health care, quality assurance, public-private contracting, and purchasing of hospital services for the poor,” said Prabodh Saxena, joint secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance. “The project will also support new strategies for non-communicable disease control and road safety.”

The agreement for the Karnataka Health System Development and Reform Project was signed by Prabodh Saxena on behalf of the government of India, Vishal R, Project Administrator, on behalf of the government of Karnataka and Michael Haney, Operations Adviser, World Bank India.

“Over the past two decades Karnataka has made significant progress in the health sector. At the same time, socio-economic disparities in the utilization of basic health services still exist. This project, we hope, will continue to contribute to the government's efforts at improving health services for mothers and children, particularly among poor and vulnerable populations,” said Michael Haney, Operations Adviser, World Bank India. “The World Bank looks forward to a continued and productive partnership with the government of Karnataka in the health sector, providing experience and models that can benefit other states in India as well as internationally,” he added.

Consequently, the project will continue support to improvements in primary and maternal health services, notably upgrading facilities to provide 24-hour services and extending mobile health services to underserved communities. The project will continue to support scale-up of the state government’s program to purchase hospital services for poor patients, with a focus on further strengthening capacity for monitoring and verification.

A number of new strategies to address emerging health problems will be piloted with support of the project, including a program for non-communicable disease prevention and control, focusing on hypertension, diabetes, and cancer -- diseases that are imposing a growing burden on the poor in India. The pilot program will include, in particular, interventions to address cervical cancer, a highly-treatable disease that is nevertheless causing the death of thousands of women in the state. In close collaboration with another World Bank-financed project – the Second Karnataka State Highways Improvement Project – the additional financing will support a comprehensive road safety strategy, focusing on improving ambulance and emergency health care services for road traffic injury victims.

“Since its start in 2006, this project has supported reforms and innovations in the health sector in Karnataka. Going forward, as government spending in the health sector continues to increase, the project will largely focus on activities that can benefit from technical engagement with the World Bank; pilot programs, which if successful, can be scaled up using government funds; and evaluations to inform such decisions," said Patrick Mullen, Senior Health Specialist, World Bank and the project’s Task Team Leader.

The project will be financed by a credit from the International Development Association (IDA) – the World Bank’s concessionary lending arm – which provides interest-free loans with 25 years to maturity and a grace period of five years.

Media Contacts
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Nandita Roy
Tel : 91-11-41479220
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Gabriela Aguilar