PharmAccess sees connectivity and data sparking a new paradigm in healthcare that holds the potential to transform overburdened healthcare systems in sub-Saharan Africa.
Since 2006, PharmAccess has been working to interrupt the downward spiral of poor healthcare supply and demand in sub-Saharan countries by creating a virtuous cycle of trust. Now digital personal connectivity allows data to become the currency of trust between patients and caregivers. This will happen when everyone in healthcare works with common data standards – without patients losing control over who sees and uses their data.
In this new paradigm, PharmAccess will continues to apply our value creation model: creating transformative systems innovations that can be replicated and adopted by others. We focus on connecting patients and care professionals at the level of communities, using only technology that is ready to use and scale. We create mechanisms for solidarity, to fight inequity.
PharmAccess explores and tests alternative models and solutions, demonstrating viability. Once value is created, we work to sustain it. We inspire and include others. So that by 2029, together with partners who share our ambitions, we will have achieved our audacious goal to spark unprecedented gains in healthcare by connecting patients and professionals.
We have set ourselves this goal because we want to make inclusive health markets a reality. PharmAccess does this with our diverse team of co-creators with deep knowledge of the local context. We know we have the ability to create what we imagine. That is why we can say with conviction: the impossible is possible when you care.
When Prof. Joep Lange founded PharmAccess in 2001, the objective was to turn ground-breaking research into action by bringing HIV/AIDS treatment to the people in Africa who were being excluded and were facing a health emergency on an unprecedented scale.
Joep challenged the status quo, asking why a multinational like Coca-Cola could manage to deliver cold drinks to every corner of Africa, yet the world’s leading experts and public organizations could – or would – not do the same with life-saving drugs.
Unwilling to wait for public policies to change, Lange decided to go through the private sector instead and started PharmAccess to set up workplace treatment programs in Africa. Heineken was the first company to commit, and many other multinationals followed. With a huge impact: it proved that it was possible to deliver lifesaving treatment to people in Africa and that the delay in doing so was a question of political will.
Towards a paradigm shift for healthcare in Africa
In 2006, the Health Insurance Fund was established by PharmAccess, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and several multinationals to tap into private sector potential to introduce public-private health financing schemes for people with low incomes. Not as a matter of ideology but based on the pragmatic notion that ~50% of health care in sub-Saharan Africa is delivered through the private sector. The approach was innovative in its focus on increasing trust in the health system, thereby aiming to reduce investment risks and costs, create the conditions to mobilize resources from other sources, like local donors, and public and private investors.
In 2008 the Investment Fund for Health in Africa, the first health-focused private equity fund in Africa was launched. Next, in 2009, the Medical Credit Fund launched to provide loans to SME’s in the health sector. 2010 saw the launch of SafeCare to develop internationally recognized quality standards for clinics and hospitals plugging a gap that international accreditation standards were not fulfilling. Thanks to the unprecedented rise of mobile technology PharmAccess has, since 2015, been working to leverage mobile technology and data to its full potential to accelerate the journey towards making health markets work to achieve universal health coverage.
If we can get cold Coca-Cola and beer to every remote corner of Africa, it should not be impossible to do the same with drugs
Joep Lange, 1954 - 2014