World Bank Approves $350 Million for Primary Healthcare Services and Disease Surveillance in Gujarat

WASHINGTON, DC, September, 21, 2022 – The World Bank’s Executive Board of Directors today approved a $350 million loan to the western Indian state of Gujarat to improve the quality and access of its public healthcare services, with special focus on adolescent girls and disease surveillance.

The Systems Reform Endeavours For Transformed Health Achievement In Gujarat (SRESTHA-G) Program will enable more people access a wider range of high-quality health services. Currently, the state is delivering seven health services to its citizens including reproductive, maternal, newborn, child, and adolescent health, communicable and non-communicable diseases (NCDs). The Program will further expand these to include mental health and elderly and palliative health services and also strengthen non-communicable services in the state.

“The World Bank is pleased to support the Human Development agenda of the state of Gujarat through the SRESTHA-G Program,” said Auguste Tano Kouame, the World Bank’s Country Director for India. “This Program will enhance access to traditional health services while supporting the state’s effort to open access to new ones, such as mental health and palliative care, thus contributing to improved health outcomes for the people of Gujarat.”

Gujarat has made steady improvements in many key health indicators, including reproductive, maternal, newborn, child, and adolescent health. However, challenges remain. For example, 69 percent of adolescent girls and 36 percent of adolescent boys in the state suffer from anemia. Also, 10 percent of rural and five percent of urban residents in Gujarat suffer from mental health issues. The Program will lay special focus on improving the health and nutrition of adolescent girls and boys. This will be prioritized in 14 districts where more than 70 percent of adolescent girls are anemic.

The Program will support a population-based screening process with help from local Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHA) and Auxiliary Nurse Midwives (ANM), and people at high risk for non-communicable or other diseases will be encouraged to go to their assigned public healthcare provider.

The Program will also help the state develop surveillance systems for early detection of disease outbreaks. It will spearhead the “one health” agenda including combating anti-microbial resistance.

Complementing the government’s focus on monitoring and tracking results and reforming its health institutions, the Program will strengthen public health institutions so they can provide better quality services that are accessible and affordable for all. It will do this by better management of resources, through improved collection and analysis of data for better decision-making, and through community engagement.

“Gujarat has a robust system of health service delivery at the primary, secondary and tertiary levels,” said Rahul Pandey and Andrew Sunil Rajkumar, the Task Team Leaders of the Systems Reform Endeavours for Transformed Health Achievement in Gujarat (SRESTHA-G) Program. “The World Bank Program will support increased transparency and accountability of the health system through public reporting, and improved citizen engagement by implementing annual health assemblies or Swasthya Parishad. The Program will also introduce innovative ways to address adolescent health and nutrition related issues in the state.”

The $350 million loan from the International Bank of Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) has a maturity of 18 years including a grace period of 5.5 years.

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