JICA today flagged off the major expansion of its Urban Healthcare Project in 17 Cities of Tamil Nadu, which include Chennai, Coimbatore, Madurai, Trichy, Salem, Tirunelveli, Erode, Vellore, Tiruppur, Thoothukudi, Nagercoil, Thanjavur, Cuddalore, Dindigul, Pudukottai, Krishnagiri and Periyakulam. The objective of the Project is to improve the quality of healthcare services in urban areas through strengthening the capacity of key hospitals with the upgradation of facilities and equipment in all these cities. In addition, the Project aims to strengthen the capacity of human resources with the focus on Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs), thereby improving the health of people in Tamil Nadu.
The Project envisages to create models to showcase innovative healthcare facilities and systems to strengthen human resource.
The ceremony was organized by the Government of Tamil Nadu (GoTN) and was attended by Hon’ble Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Mr. Thiru Edappadi K. Palaniswami along with Dr. C. Vijayabaskar, Minister of Health and Family Welfare; Dr. Girija Vaidyanathan, IAS, Chief Secretary to Government; Dr. J. Radhakrishnan, IAS, Principal Secretary, Health and Family Welfare; Senior State Officials; Mr. Seiji Baba, Consul-General of Japan in Chennai and Mr. Toru Uemachi, Senior Representative, JICA India Office.
“Through this project assistance, JICA will play an instrumental role in providing better access to innovative healthcare services in urban areas and promote a healthy lifestyle in the state of Tamil Nadu. In parallel, JICA has had a series of discussions with the GoTN on the possibility of technical cooperation closely connected to the Project. Using several assistance modalities effectively, JICA renders its continuous support and engagement by improving the quality of healthcare services in urban areas, and JICA is also achieving the targets envisioned in line with state’s health plan “Vision Tamil Nadu 2023” which is to provide universal access to public health services. Thus, the substantive improvement will provide appropriate treatment to critical issues in addition to Maternal and Child Health(MCH), NCDs, and Communicable Diseases at all levels of the health system. ” said, Mr. Toru Uemachi.
JICA had signed the Loan Agreement of 25,537 million Japanese Yen (approximately INR 1,500 crore) for Urban Healthcare Project in Tamil Nadu with the Government of India on March 31, 2016. JICA’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) loan’s conditions are very concessional, i.e. 0.3% interest rate with 30 years of repayment period (including 10 years of grace period).
Tamil Nadu is the 7th most populous state in India with half of its population living in urban areas. Public services in urban areas cover population, including urban poor, vulnerable and socially excluded, and people from semi-rural and rural areas. Referral hospitals cater to this vulnerable population who has limitation in accessing private healthcare services. In addition to MCH and Communicable Diseases, NCD burden is increasing. Furthermore, along with urbanization, Tamil Nadu has 1.4 million slum households which are 3rd highest in India. JICA-assisted Urban Healthcare Project is poised to cater to the growing demands of urban healthcare with world class facilities and has enhanced capacity to deal with the growing population in the state of Tamil Nadu. JICA has assisted through grant aid assistance the construction of a new OPD building of the Institute of Child Health and Hospital for Children (ICH), which is also contributing immensely to the healthcare sector in Tamil Nadu, ever since it became operational from January 2017.
JICA has extended 438,780 million (approximately INR 26,000 crores) Japanese Yen through ODA loans since 1981 for comprehensive development efforts of Tamil Nadu state. The initiatives facilitated through the ODA loans include the Chennai Metro, Tamil Nadu Investment Promotion Program to expedite domestic and foreign investments, power transmission system enhancement across the states, provision for safe water supply and sewerage facilities across the states, water supply enhancement and fluorosis mitigation in Dharmapuri and Krishnagiri districts, enhancement of Chennai port operations, and biodiversity conservation and greening across the states, among others.