New Delhi: The central government on Wednesday signed a deal worth USD 152 million with the World Bank to help improve health services in Uttar Pradesh.
   
"Government of India and the World Bank on Wednesday signed an International Development Association (IDA) credit of USD 152 million to finance the government's efforts to help improve the efficiency, quality, and accountability of health services in UP", a release issued by the government said.
   
The project would be financed by a credit from the IDA-World Bank's concessionary lending arm, with a final maturity of 25 years, including a grace period of five years and a 1.25 percent interest rate, it added.
   
"The proposed project is expected to help the state improve the efficiency, quality and accountability of its health services by strengthening the health department's management and systems..." Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, joint secretary Venu Rajamony said.
   
He said that the project proposes to help the state government's pilot mechanisms at the health facility and village levels to improve the responsiveness of service providers.
   
UP being one of India's low-income states with a population of approximately 200 million, he said, the state has some of the poorest health indicators in the country.
   
However, Operations Adviser of World Bank (India) Hubert Nove-Josserand said that inadequate health systems affect the poor most, and it is estimated that 8 percent of households in UP fell below the poverty line due to health-related expenditures.
   
"We hope that this project will focus on organizational strengthening and improving accountability ..." he added.
   
The public health spending in the state now stands at 1.6 percent of the gross state domestic product, which is higher than the national average of about 1 percent.

(Agencies)