The Centre, Karnataka Government and the World Bank have signed a $70 million additional credit agreement for the ongoing Karnataka Health System Development and Reform Project.

The additional credit is to further support improvements in health service delivery, particularly for the benefit of under served areas and vulnerable groups.

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 Karnataka Government, and Michael Haney, World Bank Operations Advisor for India on behalf of the World Bank.

The 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 organisations (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.

According to a World Bank release, 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 per cent in 2005-06 to 86 per cent in 2009; the proportion of children fully immunised has increased from 55 per cent in 2005-06 to 78 per cent in 2009; and 96 mobile health clinics are operational.

According to a 2011 health facility survey, 83 per cent of public health centres (PHCs) had a doctor present at the time of the survey, compared to only 35 per cent in 2004; in 2011, 89 per cent of PHCs had a functional labour room, compared to 67 per cent 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.

“Over the past two decades Karnataka has made significant progress in the health sector. At the same time, socio-economic disparities in the utilisation 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, World Bank Operations Advisor for India.

(This article was published on November 21, 2012)
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