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World Bank allots $950 million for health schemes

Our Bureau

New Delhi , June 15

THE World Bank has earmarked $950 million to support various State and national health schemes to be taken up in the next few years.

Speaking to Business Line atthe sidelines of a workshop on `India Health System Projects', Mr Julian Schweitzer, Sector Director, Human Development, South Asia, said, "We are evaluating projects in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Assam. We are also looking at funding some national level programmes in reproductive health, TB and integrated vector programme among others."The money will be disbursed over a period of five years and each State, on an average, can receive a funding of $100 million.

Meanwhile, the Health Ministry plans to ask the Finance Ministry to bring down the service charge on World Bank loans. "When the bank loans are given to State Governments, a service charge is levied, which in certain cases is high. We want the Department of Economic Affairs to look into this," said Mr J.V.R. Prasada Rao, Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

Mr Rao said that participation by non-governmental organisations and other private parties must be encouraged to run primary healthcare centres.

"In States such as Kerala and Karnataka, the local panchayats and NGOs used Government infrastructure to run primary health centres. These have been fairly successful. We hope that this model can be replicated in some other States as well," he said.

The percentage of resources allocated to the healthcare sector has gone up over the years. The Secretary hoped that there would be an increased focus on this sector in the forthcoming Budget.

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