New Delhi: The World Bank on Wednesday approved USD 152 million loan to Uttar Pradesh for improving healthcare in the state.

"A USD 152 million credit to ...Uttar Pradesh (UP) was approved by the World Bank Board of Executive Directors on Wednesday to help build the institutional capacity needed to improve health outcomes in this low-income state...," a World Bank statement said.

The Uttar Pradesh Health Systems Strengthening Project (UPHSSP) seeks to help the state government to strengthen the management and systems capacity of its health department for improving efficiency and effectiveness of healthcare services.

"We hope that this project's focus on organizational strengthening and improving accountability will help bring better healthcare to all citizen's of UP, especially to the poor who comprise one third of its population," World Bank Country Director for India Roberto Zagha said.

The project will focus on strengthening the UP health department's management and accountability systems for better management and monitoring of service delivery in the state, World Bank said.

It will also help the state health department's capacity to perform quality assurance role and to engage more effectively with the private sector, which already has a significance presence in the UP health system, it added.

The proposed project supports improvement of upstream and midstream systems that would enable the state government better utilise funds available and is complementary to other state and federal programmes, World Bank team leader of UPHSSP Vikram Rajan said.

The project builds on the earlier bank financed UP health systems development project (2000-2008) which supported investments in the secondary healthcare services and systems.

World Bank said its credit to the UP government has a final maturity of 25 years, including a grace period of five years with a 1.25 percent interest rate.

The state government has been steadily increasing its commitment to the health sector and the public health spending in the state now stands at 1.6 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) which is higher then the national average of about 1 percent, the statement said.

With a population of nearly 200 million, UP will determine the achievement of India's health goals and its health related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), it added.