SME Health Providers In 5 African Countries Get US$30m Funding

A new emergency loan guarantee facility of more than USD 30 million under the Open Doors African Private Healthcare Initiative is projected to support private and small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) healthcare providers in five high malaria burden countries in Africa.

The loan will help healthcare providers in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda to continue to provide more than five million Africans critical health services, including malaria treatment.

“As a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic, many of our clients are under increased strain and see patient visits and sales falling. This partnership allows them to better encourage wellness entrepreneurs in order to continue delivering the necessary resources to keep their families safer,” Kennedy Okong’o, Director East Africa, and Medical Credit Fund stated.

The African Private Healthcare Open Doors Program will help keep doors open for an estimated 1,600 health facilities that provide treatment for malaria and other critical health services.

Nearly 50 percent of all healthcare in sub-Saharan Africa is provided by private sector healthcare providers, including life-saving interventions such as early malaria diagnosis and treatment, ante-natal care, and routine vaccines.

“These critical health needs could overload already overburdened health services if left unaddressed and add to the loss of life during the pandemic. For example, 2020 estimates suggest that mild disturbances in the search for care could result in as many as 100,000 additional malaria deaths in sub-Saharan Africa,” explained Okong’o.

The Health Financing Alliance, a consortium of leading philanthropists, businessmen, sponsors and technical partners, set up the facility to leverage major private funding to achieve a transformative impact on healthcare in Africa.

“We need innovative funding ways to help policymakers meet their optimistic health targets, with COVID-19 placing immense financial pressure on health budgets across Africa. The Open Doors African Private Healthcare Program, which funds private health services through a combination of grants and return-seeking money, is a leading example. I want to see initiatives like this one extended in the months ahead,” Ray Chambers, WHO Ambassador for Global Strategy and Health Financing and Chair, the MCJ Amelior Foundation said.

Nearly 3 million of the five million patients who may be affected by the loan facility are low-income patients, with nearly 2.4 million women and 1.4 million children at disproportionate risk of malaria and other infectious diseases.

“To safeguard health and well-being, private sector healthcare services are important. Financial funding from the African Private Healthcare Open Doors Initiative will enable them to support the response to COVID-19 and continue to deliver critical health services to keep people and communities safe,” Naveen Rao, Senior Vice President for Health, The Rockefeller Foundation said.

Malaria No More will run the lending facility and the loans will be managed by the Medical Credit Fund (MCF), a non-profit insurance investment fund.

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