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New alliance for comprehensive primary health care aims to transform health and wellness in India

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Alliance spearheaded by USAID includes Swasti, Asian Development Bank, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and LGT Venture Philanthropy

On the eve of World Health Day, several organisations signed a Statement of Intent to form the Alliance for Comprehensive Primary Health Care (Alliance) in India. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) spearheaded the Alliance as part of its long-standing work to enhance comprehensive primary health care (CPHC) in India. Other founding Alliance members include Swasti-the Health Catalyst, the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and LGT Venture Philanthropy.

As per a press release, based on principles of equity, quality, and affordability, CPHC is an approach to health and wellbeing that is centered on the needs and preferences of individuals, families and communities. In 2018, the Government of India introduced Ayushman Bharat-Health and Wellness Centres (AB-HWCs), its flagship programme to provide CPHC and universal health coverage. The Alliance was formed to ensure that CPHC reaches its full potential in India.

Alliance members will use their collective expertise to ensure norms and standards for CPHC are developed and established, adequate financing is available for primary health care, and there is an increase in the availability of quality CPHC that meets the needs of diverse populations. This will ultimately strengthen, sustain, and promote CPHC in India.

Commenting on the Alliance, Sangita Patel, Director of the USAID/India Health Office, said, “The organisations that have joined this new Alliance are committed to making equitable, accessible, affordable, and quality comprehensive primary health care available for the health and wellbeing of all Indians. USAID is proud to be a part of this important endeavor.”

Tom Kagerer, Investment Director, LGT Venture Philanthropy, emphasised, “An alliance is a great idea as funded entrepreneurs can be embedded into larger initiatives, helping them scale up.”

Noting the catalytic role the Alliance can play, Stefan Nachuk, Deputy Director, Health System Design of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation observed, “The Alliance should not be limited to a knowledge sharing platform, but bring together lessons, principles, ideas in a concrete, instead of an abstract manner.”

Sonalini Khetrapal, Social Sector Specialist (Health) of ADB said, “ADB has been a long standing financing partner in supporting urban health since 2015 with an initial loan of $300 million, and an additional commitment of $300 million approved in December. The urban health ecosystem continues to be varied and active engagement in the Alliance across partners will be key to bridge gaps and highlight this priority agenda.”

As countries around the world grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for health care that addresses broader health needs is more urgent than ever. By strengthening CPHC, this Alliance will reportedly ultimately help India better address emerging health challenges like the pandemic, while providing high quality health and wellness care, according to the release.

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