Centre, World Bank Signs Agreement To Strengthen Health Systems: Meghalaya

The Central government, the Meghalaya government and the World Bank have signed a USD 40 million health project for Meghalaya to improve the quality of health services and strengthen the state’s capacity to handle future health emergencies, including the COVID-19 pandemic.

As per an official release issued by the Ministry of Finance, the Meghalaya Health Systems Strengthening Project, signed on October 28, will enhance the management and governance capabilities of the state and its health facilities, expand the design and coverage of the state’s health insurance programme, improve the quality of health services through certification and better human resource systems and enable efficient access to medicines and diagnostics.
“All 11 districts of the state will benefit from the project. It will also benefit health sector staff at the primary and secondary levels by strengthening their planning and management capabilities and building their clinical skills. The project will enable women to better utilise healthcare services at the community level,” read the release.

The Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance stated that “Strengthening and expanding health care systems is a priority for the Centre. The project will enhance the management and quality of health services in the state. It will also help expand the coverage of health services and make it accessible and affordable to the poor and vulnerable in the state.”

The agreement was signed by Rajat Kumar Mishra, Additional Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance on behalf of the Centre, Ramkumar S, Joint Secretary, Department of Health and Family Welfare on behalf of the Meghalaya government and Junaid Ahmad, Country Director, India on behalf of the World Bank.

The release further informed that the project will help strengthen the effectiveness of Meghalaya’s health insurance program known as the Megha Health Insurance Scheme (MHIS) – which currently covers 56 per cent of the households.

“With its merger into the national Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojna (PMJAY), MHIS now plans to offer a more comprehensive package and cover 100 per cent of the households. This will reduce barriers to accessing hospital services and preventing catastrophic out-of-pocket costs for poor families,” it stated.

“The project, as a key strategy, will move towards a performance-based financing system where Internal Performance Agreements (IPAs) between the DoHFW and its subsidiaries would foster more accountability at all levels. This is expected to go a long way in improving the management of the system to deliver quality health services. The project will also focus on promoting synergy between various schemes and augment the capacity of the state insurance agency,” it added.

The ministry informed that the project will invest in infection prevention and control for a more resilient response to future outbreaks, pandemics, and health emergencies.

“The project will also invest in improving the overall ecosystem for bio-medical waste management (both solid and liquid waste). It will include segregation, disinfection, and collection while safeguarding the environment and improving the quality of health service and patient safety,” said the ministry. (ANI)

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