USAID launches Rajasthan Development Impact Bond at GES

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) launched its first health-impact bond on the sidelines of the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) here on Thursday.

The bond, called Rajasthan Development Impact Bond, is aimed at improving maternal and newborn health in the state of Rajasthan.

Speaking at an interactive session, Mark Green, Administrator, USAID, a government body responsible for monitoring civilian aid,   said that the US $2.25 million bond is for improving the quality of health services in private health facilities in Rajasthan. The USAID will pay back the investment only if the private providers achieve concrete results. The Agency believes that the money will increase life-saving supplies and trained staff, thereby improving the ability to address complications in labour, saving lives of as many as 10,000 women and newborns over five years.

"This is India specific innovative approach and GES is the best place to launch the Bond. It is entirely a private sector programme. The initial amount of $2.25 million could be increased further. This novel pay-for-success approach is a great value for US taxpayers because it unlocks private capital and resources from local government to save lives," Green said.

Gender Divide

Announcing other initiatives launched by the USAID during the past week in the run up to GES-2017, Green said USAID has announced $1 million to combat stigma of TB and end it in India by 2025. USAID has supported the Government of India's TB programme since 1998, and has invested more than $140 million to strengthen the capacity of national, state, and district-level TB programmes. It has introduced new tools and approaches to detect, cure, and prevent TB successfully.

The US aid agency also announced another $1.5 million for the Women connect challenge for closing digital gender divide. "Of the 800 million people that still go to bed hungry every night, women are disproportionately affected. However, women are also uniquely positioned to be part of the solution ending hunger." a USAID statement said.

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