In Ecuador, the Top Hospital Now Serves Even More Patients

An IFC loan is helping Hospital Metropolitano expand its capacity and modernize medical equipment. © Conclina

“I had a normal life,” says Bernardo Darquea Pallares, a businessman in Ecuador. “I never dreamed I could have a heart attack.” But in his early 40s—and despite his active lifestyle and healthy eating—that’s exactly what happened.

During the heart attack, his situation was so dire that ambulance drivers feared he wouldn’t make the trip to Hospital Metropolitano—the only internationally accredited hospital in the country, and the only national medical facility capable of high-risk procedures. Ultimately he was successfully treated there, and he tells his story out of gratefulness to the medical staff who brought him back to life.

Hospital Metropolitano, owned by IFC client Conclina, sets the standard for health care in Ecuador, attracting patients like Darquea Pallares from across the country and throughout the region. To expand access to more people in need, IFC has loaned Conclina $15 million to increase the number and quality of Hospital Metropolitano’s services.

The investment is allowing Hospital Metropolitano to expand its current hospital operational capacity by 20 percent, modernize medical equipment (including laboratory, imaging, and operating rooms), and invest in software implementation for improved cost control and customer service. Before the expansion, the hospital had nearly 150 beds and an outpatient facility with six operating rooms and 16 day rooms.

Our support is also helping increase coverage in the hospital’s prepaid medical insurance company, Humana, and expand ambulatory diagnostics care units in its outpatient centers.


Prioritizing National Health

Just as Darquea Pallares asked specifically for treatment at Hospital Metropolitano, 160,000 patients seek care there each year. However, the country has a low number of beds per capita compared to regional standards. Hospital Metropolitano’s recent expansion will increase the availability of health care services in the national capital, Quito, especially access to complex procedures.

The hospital is already the leading provider of complex procedures in Ecuador, and the first one internationally accredited in the country by the Joint Commission of International Standards. It is the only hospital in Ecuador for liver transplants and the only one with highly qualified teams for pre- and post-transplant care. Medical services offered by the hospital include transplants (renal, cornea, liver, bone marrow), surgeries (heart, oncological, ophthalmic), and diagnostic services.

Hospital Metropolitano was a finalist at the 2017 IFT/IFC Transformational Business Awards, which took place earlier this year. The awards, managed by The Financial Times and IFC, showcase innovative and commercially viable private sector solutions that help address key development issues and help countries meet the UN Sustainable Development Goals.


Treating Those Traditionally Underserved

Because Hospital Metropolitano serves a mix of low- and middle-income patients, its expansion also benefits a population that has traditionally been underserved.

Including underserved Ecuadorians is a fundamental element of the hospital’s mission. Conclina's main shareholder is Metrofraternidad, a nonprofit foundation founded in 1986. Metrofraternidad provides free medical assistance to low-income patients and has helped 140,000 patients receive treatment and care, including nearly 9,000 medium and high complexity surgeries. The foundation benefits from IFC’s investment and the hospital’s expansion indirectly; as the hospital serves more patients, Metrofraternidad receives larger dividends to reinvest in its mission.


Leading by Example

Across emerging markets, the private sector plays a significant role in health services and life sciences, including for the poorest countries with scarce public resources. IFC provides investment and advisory services to help companies expand access to health care and improve quality. IFC has an active portfolio worth about $1.3 billion in health services, including hospitals and life sciences like pharmaceuticals, vaccines, and medical technology.

IFC’s investment may also signal to other private players in the health sector in Ecuador that investing in the sector makes financial sense, encouraging other health-care facilities to grow.

Darquea Pallares, the Ecuadorian businessman who recovered from a heart attack in a room at Hospital Metropolitano, has experienced the benefits first-hand. But that doesn’t mean he wants to return. To remain healthy—and avoid future hospital visits—he’s shifted his priorities: “I no longer work the 12 hour days I used to work,” he says.

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Published in September 2017


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