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New loan guarantee facility unlocks over $30M to shore up private sector health care in five African countries during COVID-19

New Initiative Will Help Keep Doors Open for Estimated 1600 Health Facilities Offering Malaria Treatment and other Essential Health Services.

  • jan 12, 2021

Amsterdam, New York and Washington, D.C. | January 11, 2021 – A new emergency loan guarantee facility will enable over USD$30 million in loans private, small- and medium enterprise (SME) health providers in five high malaria burden African countries. The loans 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. 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 transformative healthcare impact in Africa.

Private sector healthcare providers deliver nearly 50 percent of all healthcare 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.

As countries have shut down sectors of their economies and asked citizens to remain at home to slow the spread of COVID-19, all health providers have seen a decrease in demand for services. For private healthcare providers, this also means decreased revenues, putting them at risk of closing during a time when access to care is already a challenge.

The Open Doors African Private Healthcare Initiative is one of the first initiatives to address the economic crunch that the private health sector in Africa is facing due to COVID-19.The initiative mobilizes over $30 million in loans to healthcare companies through the non-profit impact health investment fund Medical Credit Fund (MCF) and is guaranteed by a mix of public and private capital. A catalytic $700,000 investment by the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) enables a $17.7 million loan guarantee from the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) and $1.5 million in philanthropic funding from The Rockefeller Foundation, the Skoll Foundation, and the MCJ Amelior Foundation. Together, this effort unlocks more than $30 million in loans to SME health providers. Additional support comes from the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Center for Innovation and Impact (CII).

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. Loans are expected to average $17,000 per provider to be used to help stabilize operations, buy essential medical equipment including personal protective equipment, and finance small-scale construction to protect patients from COVID-19. MCF’s partner organization SafeCare, in collaboration with PMI, will offer resources for facilities to continue providing routine services safely during the pandemic. MCF and SafeCare also work to improve data collection to better understand the capacity of these small private practices to provide health care.

The first set of loans were administered to providers in the five countries in late December 2020. The Open Doors African Private Healthcare Initiative is an initiative of the Health Finance Coalition, a group of leading philanthropies, investors, donors and technical partners focused on mobilizing significant private investment to achieve transformative health care impact in Africa.

For more information or to apply for a loan visit: www.medicalcreditfund.org

Partner Quotes:

Ray Chambers, WHO Ambassador for Global Strategy and Health Financing and Chair, the MCJ Amelior Foundation 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.” 

Dr. Ken Staley, U.S. Global Malaria Coordinator stated:

“The private sector provides millions of people in Africa with essential health care for malaria and other diseases. PMI is proud to support this effort to help ensure they can continue their life-saving work during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.” 

Martin Edlund, CEO, Malaria No More commented:

“This facility is one of the first solutions of its kind to address the twin health and economic crises facing the private health sector in Africa due to COVID-19. We hope it will spark a broader response using creative finance solutions to save lives from malaria and address Africa’s most urgent health needs.” 

Nafisa Jiwani, Managing Director, Health Initiatives, U.S. International Development Finance Corporation stated:

“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.”

Naveen Rao, Senior Vice President for Health, The Rockefeller Foundation said:

“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.” 

Bruce Lowry, Senior Advisor, Skoll Foundation commented:

“This initiative multiplies impact through its blended finance structure and collaborative efforts. Through the cooperative effort between the Skoll, Rockefeller and MCJ Amelior Foundations, this loan guarantee leverages philanthropic capital to unlock additional, essential funds to preserve vital health services throughout Africa.” 

Kennedy Okong’o, Director East Africa, Medical Credit Fund stated:

“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.” 

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About the Partners

The Health Finance Coalition

The Health Finance Coalition (HFC) was launched by a group of leading philanthropies, investors, donors, technical partners convened by WHO Ambassador for Global Strategy and Health Financing Ray Chambers and hosted by Malaria No More. The HFC seeks to attract an unprecedented level of private-sector investment to impact millions of lives and accelerate progress to ensure health lives and promote well-being for all, a UN Sustainable Development Goal 3. The coalition uses public and philanthropic funding to encourage private-sector capital investment in transformative healthcare impact in Sub-Saharan Africa. HFC Steering Group members include: The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria; The Rockefeller Foundation; The World Bank; The World Health Organization; Royal Philips; and Blue Like an Orange Sustainable Capital.

Malaria No More

Malaria No More envisions a world where no one dies from a mosquito bite. Launched at the 2006 White House Summit on Malaria, our work has contributed to historic progress toward this goal. Now, we’re mobilizing the political commitment, funding, and innovation required to achieve what would be one of the greatest humanitarian accomplishments – ending malaria within our generation. For more information, visit www.malarianomore.org.

The Medical Credit Fund

The Medical Credit Fund (MCF) is the only fund dedicated to financing small and medium-sized healthcare enterprises in Africa. MCF combines loans to healthcare providers with technical assistance for business and quality improvement using SafeCare standards. Through its digital loan product healthcare providers can access working capital loans on their mobile phone. To date, MCF has disbursed over 5,000 loans totaling USD 100 million in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda. Medical Credit Fund (www.medicalcreditfund.org) is part of PharmAccess Group (www.pharmaccess.org).

The Rockefeller Foundation

The Rockefeller Foundation advances new frontiers of science, data, and innovation to solve global challenges related to health, food, power, and economic mobility. As a science-driven philanthropy focused on building collaborative relationships with partners and grantees, The Rockefeller Foundation seeks to inspire and foster large-scale human impact that promotes the well-being of humanity throughout the world by identifying and accelerating breakthrough solutions, ideas, and conversations. For more information, sign up for our newsletter at rockefellerfoundation.org and follow us on Twitter @RockefellerFdn.

The Skoll Foundation

The Skoll Foundation catalyzes transformational social change by investing in, connecting, and championing social entrepreneurs and other social innovators to advance bold and equitable solutions to the world’s most pressing problems.

Jeff Skoll, the first employee and first President of eBay, created the Skoll Foundation in 1999 to pursue his vision of a sustainable world of peace and prosperity for all. The Skoll Foundation is part of the Jeff Skoll Group, which also includes Participant and the Capricorn Investment Group. The Foundation is led by CEO Don Gips.

The Skoll Foundation is at an exciting inflection point in its two-decade long history. With equity at the center of an evolving strategy that extends beyond its traditional focus on social entrepreneurship, the Foundation aspires to fundamentally shift the trajectory on urgent global problems including pandemics and global health systems, racial justice, climate change, effective governance, and inclusive economies. The Foundation does this by connecting social entrepreneurs and other change leaders around the world, investing in their solutions, and championing their work.

Learn more at skoll.org.

MCJ Amelior Foundation

MCJ Amelior Foundation is the private grantmaking foundation of Ray Chambers, WHO Ambassador for Global Strategy. Mr. Chambers is the founder of the Health Finance Coalition and of Malaria No More. The MCJ Amelior Foundation is a guarantor of the Facility.

U.S. International Development Finance Corporation

U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) is America’s development bank. DFC partners with the private sector to finance solutions to the most critical challenges facing the developing world today. DFC is committed to strengthening health resilience in developing countries. Through its Health and Prosperity Initiative, the agency is working to invest $2 billion in projects that bolster health systems, support infrastructure development, and expand access to clean water, sanitation, and nutrition. DFC is particularly focused on projects that support the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic, especially through investment in health system capacity, including supply chains that expand the distribution of medical supplies, products, and equipment. The agency will also prioritize projects that support countries in Africa that are particularly vulnerable to health challenges as well as investments that advance DFC’s 2X Women’s Initiative by empowering women, who are often disproportionately impacted by crises like COVID-19. DFC investments adhere to high standards and respect the environment, human rights, and worker rights.

USAID Center for Innovation & Impact (CII)

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)’s Center for Innovation and Impact (CII) in the Global Health Bureau applies private sector approaches to global health challenges, including market shaping and innovative financing. CII works with technical teams across USAID’s Global Health Bureau, including the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI), to support innovative financing initiatives such as this loan guarantee facility. CII also works closely with the Development Finance Corporation (DFC) on their Health and Prosperity Initiative.

U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative

The U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) supports 24 partner countries in sub-Saharan Africa and three programs in the Greater Mekong Subregion in Southeast Asia to control and eliminate malaria. Led by the U.S. Agency for International Development and co-implemented with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, PMI delivers cost-effective, life-saving malaria interventions—such as insecticide-treated bed nets, indoor residual spraying, and essential medicines—alongside catalytic technical and operational assistance to equip and empower partner countries to end malaria. PMI also makes significant investments in health worker training and health systems strengthening. These systems are critical for the fight against malaria, and also help equip PMI partner countries to respond to other health threats and public health emergencies such as COVID-19.