May 4, 2007 — IFC, the world’s largest multilateral investor in the private health sector in emerging markets, recently hosted the “IFC International Health Conference 2007: Private Health Care in Emerging Markets—Evolution or Revolution?” in Washington, D.C.
Opening the conference, EVP Lars Thunell said, “Nowhere is the need for private sector financing felt more keenly than in the emerging markets, where demand is presenting opportunities both for local providers and multinationals.” He said the title of the conference reflected the remarkable developments and trends underway in private health care in emerging markets.
More than 100 participants from over 20 countries discussed the changes taking place, business prospects, and ways that companies could benefit from shared experiences and best practices. Panel discussions and presentations by leading analysts and operators provided information for decision-makers on competing in the global marketplace. Major themes included innovative models, franchising, health cooperatives, insurance, and traveling overseas for medical treatment with special focus on the experiences of companies from Brazil, China, India, Kenya, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates.
IFC Impact in Health
Apart from financing, IFC has promoted South-to-South investment in health care. For example, IFC committed $37 million in financing to Saudi German Hospitals Group to support a new hospital in Sana’a, Yemen, and construction of a hospital in Cairo, Egypt. The 300-bed hospital in Sana’a, which opened in June 2006, and a hospital of similar size under construction in Cairo will raise medical care standards in both countries.
In China, IFC’s active involvement in the private sector is helping support public sector activities. In 2005, IFC provided an $8 million equivalent local currency loan to expand China’s United Family Hospitals. IFC funds were used for medical equipment and facility upgrades at Shanghai hospital, UFH’s flagship hospital in Beijing, as well as an out-patient clinic in downtown Beijing. The group is also developing a medical training program to teach the latest in international standard patient care to nurses from both the public and private sectors. Development of this nursing program was supported by advisory services organized through IFC's donor funds. Roberta Lipson, UFH chairman, said that future hospitals “would be priced to allow deeper penetration,” thereby providing access to a broader range of people.
For more information about IFC's impact in Health and Education, click here.
Health and Education Department, IFC