Contrary to popular opinion, Africa’s poorest seek out private health
services more often than public health services. The private sector is
already central to health care delivery in the region. Now the
international community must make it a larger part of its work to use
the private sector to find solutions to Africa’s health care crisis.
The issue could hardly be more urgent. Almost half of the world's deaths
of children under age five still occur in Africa. The region has the
world's highest maternal mortality, while HIV/AIDS, malaria, and
tuberculosis continue to undermine the hope and vitality of its people.
governments have made some strides—in some cases, with aid, advice, and
development assistance—but progress remains slow. Sub-Saharan Africa is
not on track to meet the three Millennium Development Goals related to
health—child mortality, maternal health, and disease.
Increasingly, there is recognition that the private sector must play a
key role to improve health and achieve targets. But models that allow
private health providers to reach the scale needed are only starting to
IFC, the world's leading private sector development organization, and
the Gates Foundation, the foremost health-focused philanthropic
organization, are joining forces to develop a new, highly targeted, and
commercially-based approach to private health care in Africa.
The two institutions are spending $3.5 million to conduct research to
help determine the kinds of business models that provide the best
service to people at different income levels. This effort will also
determine the kinds of financial products commercial financers,
including IFC, should be offering to support private sector involvement
in these services.
The research will be used to create an environment for change by
bringing together leading experts, including financiers, insurers,
donors, policymakers, regulators, and operators. The effort will explore
ways that financing and provision of private health services in Africa
can be improved, especially to increase access for the poor. Through
this partnership with the Gates Foundation, IFC expects to raise
understanding of the value of the private sector in the African health
care market and help put in place measures that will enable it to grow.
For more information contact:
Senior Communications Officer
+1 202 473 7700