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India inks USD 100-mn agmt with World Bank for treatment of TB

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has inked a USD 100 million loan agreement with World Bank with the objective of helping fund treatment of (TB) in the country.

"The government of India and the World Bank today signed a USD 100 million credit agreement to support India's efforts at achieving universal access to quality diagnosis and treatment for people suffering from tuberculosis (TB)," said a joint statement from the government and the funding body.

The loan from World Bank would contribute towards treatment of about 31 lakh TB patients in the country. Besides, the funding would also take care to increase number of patients of multi-drug resistant (MDR)-TB to 40,000 patients per year as well as reach 90,000 pediatric TB cases annually.

The credit agreement for 'Accelerating Universal Access to Early and Effective Tuberculosis Care Project' was signed between Nilaya Mitash, Joint Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance and Michael Haney, World Bank's Operations Advisor in India.

It is third in a series of projects supporting government's Revised National Tuberculosis Control Program (RNTCP).

"It will support India's National Strategic Plan for TB Control by reaching more TB patients with earlier and more effective care in the public and private sectors; scaling-up and improving diagnosis...Integrate public sector TB services with the government's primary health care system."

Since 1997, in addition to domestic budgetary resources, RNTCP has received support from the World Bank and other partners.

"The project will contribute to scaling up free-of-charge MDR TB services, helping many more families avoid death and impoverishment.

"At the same time, our engagement with the programme on new and innovative strategies to extend support to the many TB patients who seek care in the private sector will contribute to the government's efforts to improve the timeliness and quality of TB care overall," said Patrick Mullen, Senior Health Specialist and World Bank's Task Team Leader for the project.

It is the sixth most important cause of death and disability in India, causing an estimated 22 lakh new cases and 270,000 deaths annually. Also, it is estimated that 64,000 new MDR-TB cases emerge annually.

This project would be financed by loan from International Development Association (IDA), which is the concessionary lending arm of the World Bank.

IDA provides interest-free loans with 25 years to maturity and a grace period of five years.

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