The Government of India, the Government of Meghalaya and World Bank signed $40 million Meghalaya Health System Strengthening Project for the state of Meghalaya. This project is expected to improve the quality of health services and strengthen the state’s capacity to handle future health emergencies, including the COVID-19 pandemic.
The agreement was signed by Shri Rajat Kumar Mishra, Additional Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance on behalf of the Government of India; Shri Ramkumar S, Joint Secretary, Department of Health and Family Welfare on behalf of the Government of Meghalaya; and Mr Junaid Ahmad, Country Director, India on behalf of the World Bank.
According to government officials, the Project 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 program; 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 be benefitted 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. Women of the state will be able to get better healthcare services at the community level.
An official of the Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance stated that “Strengthening and expanding health care systems is a priority for the Government of India. 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 project will help strengthen the effectiveness of Meghalaya’s health insurance program known as the Megha Health Insurance Scheme (MHIS) – which currently covers 56% 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% of the households. This will reduce barriers to accessing hospital services and prevent catastrophic out-of-pocket costs for poor families.