World Bank credits $100 million to up healthcare in Uttarakhand
The Dollar Business Bureau
The state of Uttarakhand was separated from its former territory of Uttar Pradesh in 2000 with the objective of exclusively providing development aid to more than 16,000 sparsely inhabited villages in its mountainous areas. But in the sixteen years following this separation, little has been done to improve healthcare and other basic facilities.
These sub-par public services have once again taken the spotlight, as elections to the state were recently held.
World Bank has stepped up to loan an amount of $100 million to up the healthcare services in the thirteen districts of Uttarakhand. A credit agreement of the said amount was signed between the international lending institution, the Centre and the state of Uttarakhand.
Medical aid in the hilly regions of the northern state is sub-standard primarily due to inadequate staffing. It has been reported that 48% of general physician posts and 75% of specialists' positions were idle in the year 2013. Due to rough terrain and extreme weather conditions, the government has encountered great difficulty in filling these positions. Despite generous pay cheques to compensate for the inconvenient location, there hasn't been much progress in the matter.
Primary health centres are the lowest rung of the public healthcare system, responsible for providing country-wide coverage of basic medical services 24 hours a day. About 68% of the primary health centres in Uttarakhand are reported to be non-functional.
The project aims to address these issues by financing collaborations with private players. These innovative partnerships with the private sector are expected to provide quality and affordable medical services in the region.