Africa’s fragile health systems are struggling to cope with rapidly rising demand and insufficient investment.
Malaria, HIV/AIDS, and other diseases are longstanding challenges on the continent, their effects compounded by poverty and malnutrition. New shocks live COVID-19 have energized the debate around transforming Africa’s health care systems so they can best serve everyone on the continent.
The private sector has an important role to play in this transformation, as private hospitals and clinics can remove the burden from cash-strapped public systems and introduce innovative solutions to meet 21st century challenges.
Attracting private sector investment and expertise into Africa’s health sector will, however, require market creation, wider social insurance coverage, increased public-private engagement, and an improved regulatory environment.
IFC’s support for Africa’s health sector is delivered through both direct investments and advisory services. IFC supports health care providers, but also the life sciences industry, and medical technologies and education.
As of June 2020, IFC had an active portfolio of more than $2 billion in health care companies in emerging markets, including $161 million in sub-Saharan Africa.
IFC's IQ-Healthcare Tool is a diagnostic tool that helps health care providers improve patient safety, align practices with global quality standards, and build safe health infrastructure. IFC also seeks to improve operating practices related to ethics and family rights, governance and leadership, facilities management, general safety, and human resources.
The Ethical Principles in Health Care, or EPiHC, are a set of principles that IFC has developed to drive ethical and responsible conduct in the private health care sector in emerging markets. IFC is encouraging health care organizations around the world to sign on to the principles and has created an independent secretariat to provide support and guidance on implementation.
With the Health in Africa Initiative, IFC partnered with governments in nine countries—Burkina Faso, Republic of Congo, Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Nigeria, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda—to create the environment to facilitate private investments in the sector.
The health of Africa’s economies and societies ultimately depends on the health of its people. For this reason, IFC has made strengthening healthcare systems in Africa a priority.