Amsterdam, Netherlands – Royal Philips (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHIA) and the Medical Credit Fund, part of the PharmAccess Group, will be working together to improve access to quality healthcare in Africa. Through this partnership small and medium-sized private clinics in Africa have access to financing for innovative medical technologies and services from Philips. This enables clinics to expand and improve the quality of their services, giving more people access to quality healthcare.
Most small and medium-sized private clinics in Africa cannot obtain financing from banks due to the high investment risks. As a result, they are not able to invest in medical equipment, carry out necessary renovation works or recruit qualified personnel. At the same time these clinics serve more than half of the population in Africa, primarily low-income earners. The Medical Credit Fund is a Dutch fund that works with African banks to provide these clinics with affordable loans in their local currency. The loans are combined with management training and a quality improvement program called SafeCare that are implemented with local partners.
Every day some 800 women die as a result of complications that arise during pregnancy or childbirth. Many of these problems can be prevented if they are identified in time. It is one of the elements the partnership addresses. Midwives, for example, can have access to mobile ultrasound equipment which enables them to carry out relatively straightforward but critical examinations during pregnancy. The mobile ultrasound equipment can also be taken to rural villages to screen women that are not able to reach the clinics. The clinics will also be able to acquire patient monitoring and X-ray systems for the examination and treatment of patients.
Minister Lilianne Ploumen (Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation) believes access to quality healthcare in Africa is very important. This is why the Netherlands contributes to the Medical Credit Fund via the Dutch development bank FMO. Financing new healthcare technologies is an important component of improving healthcare delivery. “The partnership between the Medical Credit Fund and Philips shows clearly that aid and trade can work hand in hand. By working together, these parties can do even more to help improve healthcare delivery in Africa,” says Ploumen.
Minister Lilianne Ploumen (Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation) cited this partnership as a good example of aid and trade in her closing speech at the Africa Works! conference, after which Monique Dolfing-Vogelenzang and Philips’ Marc Bakker signed the contract
Photo: Rebke Klokke
Monique Dolfing-Vogelenzang, Managing Director Medical Credit Fund: “What we have seen is that clinics often use a loan to invest in medical equipment. It is therefore very important that quality equipment tailored to local circumstances is available on the market. With its knowledge of the African market, Philips is able to supply sustainable and innovative products that meet these needs, thus bringing about a structural improvement in the quality of healthcare.“
“Philips aims to contribute substantially to improving healthcare in Africa through innovative solutions that are tailored to local needs. Many clinics on the continent would like to invest in new medical technology, but find it difficult to obtain the necessary finance. Through this partnership we enable them to make good quality healthcare available to a large group of people who need healthcare. This also represents the next step in the further expansion of our activities in Africa,” says Peter van de Ven, General Manager of Philips Healthcare Africa.
The Medical Credit Fund works with the internationally recognized SafeCarestandards. The clinics enter a quality improvement program using these clinical standards that helps them to improve the quality and safety of their healthcare delivery. Thanks to this integrated approach of providing loans, training and improvement programs, the Medical Credit Fund enhances trust in the clinics among both patients and financial institutions, and is helping to build effective healthcare systems in sub-Saharan Africa.
The partnership will initially involve the countries in which the Medical Credit Fund already operates, i.e. Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria and Tanzania. So far the Medical Credit Fund has provided more than USD 6 million in loans to small African clinics, with a repayment rate of over 97%. More than 500 clinics are already using these loans to improve the quality of the healthcare they provide.
For further information contact:
Tel. +31 6 10 55 8116
PharmAccess / Medical Credit Fund
Tel. +31 6 34 99 56 16
About Royal Philips
Royal Philips (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHIA) is a diversified health and well-being company, focused on improving peopleâ€™s lives through meaningful innovation in the areas of Healthcare, Consumer Lifestyle and Lighting. Headquartered in the Netherlands, Philips posted 2013 sales of EUR 23.3 billion and employs approximately 113,000 employees with sales and services in more than 100 countries. The company is a leader in cardiac care, acute care and home healthcare, energy efficient lighting solutions and new lighting applications, as well as male shaving and grooming and oral healthcare. News from Philips is located at www.philips.com/newscenter.
About the Medical Credit Fund
The Medical Credit Fund (MCF) facilitates SME loans to private primary healthcare providers through local banks. This finance program is combined with internationally certified clinical (SafeCare) and business technical assistance programs to ensure that funding is well spent. Together the loans and support program will help to improve the quality of the health clinics which will lead to expanded and improved healthcare services for more people.
The MCF is an initiative of PharmAccess International. In November 2010, the Fund won the G-20 SME Finance Challenge. What makes the Fund especially innovative is its ‘layered capital’ structure. By using philanthropic capital to catalyze much larger amounts of funding from private and public sources, the MCF is able to increase its developmental impact significantly. The Dutch government has played an important role by providing a guarantee and financing for the technical assistance through the Dutch development bank FMO. The MCF investors are (amongst others) OPIC, Gates Foundation, Soros, USAID, IFC, and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In 2014, MCF was awarded second place in the SME Finance Innovation Award, and won an OPIC Impact Award in the category Access to Finance. www.medicalcreditfund.org