At PharmAccess, our goal is to make inclusive health markets work in sub-Saharan Africa. Realizing that the first wealth is health.
We challenge the notion that exclusion from essential healthcare is an inevitable consequence of living in poorer countries and identify the opportunities and partners – both private and public, needed to bring about holistic transformation in failing health markets.
PharmAccess focuses on the root causes that hamper health care financing and investments towards equitable and quality health care in sub-Saharan Africa. Working as an innovator and catalyst for pragmatic solutions that can be adopted, adapted, and scaled by partners.
The PharmAccess integrated approach addresses both the demand and supply side of the health care system and uses the opportunities that mobile technology and data provide to leapfrog development in health markets in sub-Saharan Africa. With the aim to inspire viable and resilient health markets that provide access to care for millions of people in Africa.
Through public-private partnerships, PharmAccess focusses on; promoting basic health insurance plans and other innovative demand-side financing options to protect people from financial hardship; introducing quality standards and improvement methodologies for health care providers to increase transparency and stimulate efficiencies; facilitating and stimulating loans, business support, and investments for private health care providers, and innovating value-based health care solutions and financing, using data to empower health care consumers, patients, doctors and financiers alike.
PharmAccess is not alone in achieving this task. Partnerships are key. Through independent research, PharmAccess provides vital learnings and evidence to advocate replication and scaling by public-private partners. Learn more about our approach.
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.