USAID launches bond to reduce maternal, neo-natal deaths in Rajasthan

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has launched a health-impact bond to reduce maternal and neo-natal deaths in Rajasthan by improving the quality of services at private healthcare facilities.

Administrator Mark Green, announcing the launch at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Hyderabad on Thursday, said it is a public-private partnership and size of the bond would be a minimum of $2.25 million.

Private capital, he added, would front the costs to improve the quality of health services in private health facilities. USAID would pay back the investment only if the providers achieve certain concrete results. The increase in the life-saving supplies and trained staff and the improved ability to address complications in labour would save lives of as many as 10,000 women and newborns over five years.

This partnership will reach up to 600,000 pregnant women and cover private healthcare facilities that support a region of 75 million people. Rajasthan's Health Ministry has signed a memorandum of understanding with the partners to invest in and scale up the partnership if the pilot programme is successful.

Named the Utkrisht Impact Bond, it is the world’s first health impact bond and developed by USAID, Merck for Mothers, the UBS Optimus Foundation, PSI, Palladium, and HLFPPT.

Impact bonds are an innovative way to finance development, the USAID website said. They are 100% focused on outcomes and have the potential to leverage private investor capital to address some of the world’s greatest challenges, a release said.

The bond aims to reduce the number of mother and baby deaths by improving the quality of maternal care in Rajasthan’s health facilities. It will enable implementing partners, Population Services International (PSI) and HLFPPT to support 440 small healthcare organisations to improve services, meet new government quality standards and adhere to them over the long term.

Private capital from UBS Optimus Foundation would meet the costs to improve the quality of health services in the private health facilities. HLFPPT and PSI would use the funding to improve the quality of care in facilities and help them become accredited. As outcome payers, USAID and Merck for Mothers would pay back the investment only if certain targets are met. The effort has the potential to reach up to 600,000 pregnant women, USAID said.

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Printable version | Oct 21, 2021 7:01:48 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/usaid-launches-bond-to-reduce-maternal-neo-natal-deaths-in-rajasthan/article21218821.ece

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