A group of leading philanthropists, investors, donors and technical partners through the Health Finance Coalition is set to support private, small and medium enterprise (SME) health care providers in Nigeria and four other African countries with a new emergency loan guarantee facility of $30 million.
This is according to a disclosure by the Rockefeller Foundation, seen by Nairametrics. The coalition through The Open Doors African Private Healthcare Initiative seeks to unlock $30 million in loans to SMEs in five African countries namely; Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.
What they are saying
WHO Ambassador for Global Strategy and Health Financing and Chair, MCJ Amelior Foundation, Ray Chambers, said:
“With Covid-19 putting tremendous financial pressure on health budgets across Africa, we need creative financing solutions to help governments achieve their ambitious health goals. The Open Doors African Private Healthcare Initiative, which supports private health providers through a blend of grants and return-seeking capital, is a leading example. I hope to see strategies such as this one scaled up in the months to come.”
The Managing Director, Health Initiatives, U.S. International Development Finance Corporation, Afisa Jiwani, said:
“Covid-19 has posed significant challenges for small- and medium-sized private sector health facilities in Africa. Investing in these important health systems can help countries in sub-Saharan Africa withstand the current pandemic while supporting millions of people who rely on these facilities.”
Why it matters
According to the notice, the funding became imperative given that private sector healthcare providers deliver nearly 50% of all healthcare services in Sub-Saharan Africa, which comprises of vital interventions like early malaria diagnosis and treatment, ante-natal care and routine vaccinations. Therefore, the support is aimed at boosting the capacity and ability of these private healthcare firms in the aforementioned countries to continue in its life-saving services.
In addition, given that the ravaging pandemic is anticipated to affect the income of private healthcare providers in the continent and pose a serious threat to their capacity to provide other services like they normally do, the support is necessary to cushion the identified economic crisis and avert disruption in treatment of other ailments, which is estimated to result to at least 10,000 additional malaria deaths in the continent.
What you should know
The loan facility will be managed by Malaria No More and loans will be administered through the Medical Credit Fund (MCF), a non-profit health investment fund. Loans are expected to average $17,000 per provider to help stabilize operations, buy essential medical equipment including personal protective equipment, and finance small-scale construction to protect patients from COVID-19 infection.
Of the estimated five million patients that the loan facility could impact, about 3 million are low-income patients and approximately 2.4 million are women and 1.4 million are children, who are disproportionately at risk of malaria and other infectious diseases.
The World Health Organization estimated that the sum of $240 billion is needed to annually to bridge the health funding gap in order to achieve SDG 3. Out of this identified gap, the most pressing needs are in sub-Saharan Africa, which bears 93% of global malaria cases and 94% of global malaria deaths. Currently, just 1.6% of the annual $500 billion global impact capital market is invested in the health sector in Africa.