NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 13 – Private and small- and medium enterprise (SME) health providers in five high malaria burden African countries are set to benefit from a new emergency loan guarantee facility of more than USD$30 million equivalent to Sh3.29 billion.
The loan will support healthcare providers in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania, and Uganda to continue offering essential health services, including malaria treatments, to more than five million Africans.
“Many of our clients are under increased pressure as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and see patient visits and revenues decrease. This agreement helps us to further support health entrepreneurs so they can continue providing the services needed to keep their communities healthy,” Kennedy Okong’o, Director East Africa, and Medical Credit Fund stated.
The Open Doors African Private Healthcare Initiative will help keep doors open for estimated 1600 health facilities offering malaria treatment and other essential health services.
Private sector healthcare providers deliver nearly 50 percent of all healthcares in sub-Saharan Africa, including life-saving interventions such as early malaria diagnosis and treatment, ante-natal care and routine vaccinations.
“If left unaddressed, these vital health needs could overwhelm already overburdened health systems and add to the loss of life during the pandemic. Projections in 2020, for example, estimated that moderate disruptions in treatment seeking could lead to as many as 100,000 additional malaria deaths in sub-Saharan Africa,” explained Okong’o.
The facility was created by the Health Finance Coalition, a group of leading philanthropies, investors, donors and technical partners focused on mobilizing significant private investment to achieve trans-formative healthcare impact in Africa.
“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,” Ray Chambers, WHO Ambassador for Global Strategy and Health Financing and Chair, the MCJ Amelior Foundation said.
Of the five million patients that the loan facility could impact, almost 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.
“Private sector healthcare providers are critical to safeguarding health and well-being. Financial support from Open Doors African Private Healthcare Initiative will enable them to support the COVID-19 response and continue to provide essential health services that keep people and communities healthy,” Naveen Rao, Senior Vice President for Health, The Rockefeller Foundation said.
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.