COVID-19, Africa Update: $30M Loan Initiative to unlock private sector Healthcare in five African Countries

Good news for Africa as the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative, U.S. International Development Finance Corporation, USAID CII, The Rockefeller Foundation, Skoll Foundation, MCJ Amelior Foundation and Malaria No More are all collaborating to give a loan facility that would Unlocking Over $30M to Shore Up Private Sector in five African countries. The goal of this new initiative is to help keep doors open for an estimated 1600 health facilities offering essential health services.

The Rockefeller Foundation recently announced a new emergency loan guarantee facility makes over USD$30 million available to private, small- and-medium enterprise (SME) health providers in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania, and Uganda to continue offering essential health services, including malaria diagnosis and treatment, 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 committed to strengthening primary health care delivery in Africa.

In Sub- Saharan Africa, about 50% of all healthcare services are provided and delivered by the private sector, including early malaria diagnosis and treatment, ante-natal care and routine vaccinations. If left unaddressed, these health needs could overwhelm already overburdened health systems and add to 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 all over the world shuts down their economics activities and asked people to stay home to slow COVID-19’s spread, demand for health services has decreased, reducing private health providers’ revenues, and putting them at risk of closing.

The Open Doors African Private Healthcare Initiative is one of the first initiatives to address this economic crunch in sub-Saharan Africa. 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 funding from The Rockefeller Foundation, the Skoll Foundation, and the MCJ Amelior Foundation. Together, this effort unlocks over USD$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).

Malaria No More manages the loan facility and Medical Credit Fund, a non-profit health investment fund, administers the loans. Loans, averaging $17,000 per provider, will help stabilize operations, buy essential medical equipment, and finance small-scale construction to protect patients from COVID-19.