Africa: Flying Doctors - PPP, Tech Innovation Solution to U.S.$66 Billion Finance Gap in Africa

26 July 2021

Public Private Partnership (PPP) and technological innovation have been cited as part of the solutions to plug the healthcare financing gap in Africa countries put at $66 billion.

The Founder of Flying Doctors Healthcare Investment Company, Dr. Ola Brown, stated this during a panel session to mark the launch of the 2021 Africa Healthcare Report titled: 'Impact Investing and Healthcare Financing in Africa.'

A statement quoted Brown to have disclosed that poverty and financing constraints have prevented African countries from plugging their healthcare gaps, noting that, this was one of the several reasons why the report was written and where impact investing would come into play.

"In order for quality healthcare to be supplied, someone has to pay for it; the government, the patient or an insurance company. In Africa all three of these parties (insurers, patients, and the government) face constraints and that no country in the world had achieved universal healthcare without significant state support," she said.

Brown explained that when investments are made into healthcare, it creates a ripple effect on other unrelated issues that have continued to plague the continent. "According to the Healthcare federation of Nigeria, investment in healthcare could create up to 16 million jobs across Africa, making the continent not just more productive, but also helping to combat security challenges.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has shone a light even more harshly on these gaps, and showcased how technology can help in bridging them. Impact Investing, being a more suitable way for financing this technology across the continent, can be introduced into the Africa healthcare value chain and will create sustainable impact in different ways, for example on the micro side - providing remote care to patients- among other things," she said.

Also speaking, the Cofounder/Chief Operating Officer of Lifestores Limited, Andrew Garza, one of Flying Doctors Healthcare Investment Company's portfolio companies, revealed how impact investing has assisted his company in making cost-effective, genuine medicines easily accessible and affordable to ordinary Nigerians.

Garza explained how in the process of searching for cheaper drugs, Nigerians buy counterfeit drugs that pose huge health risks.

"According to WHO, one in every nine women in Nigeria, dies during childbirth, so an investment in healthcare is an investment towards saving lives. African youths need jobs and healthcare gives jobs. Solve the job problem and you would have solved the economic problem," he said.

On his part, the Founding Partner of Health Systems Consult Limited, Dr. Nkata Chuku, said the country could not continue to run out of pocket payment for health and expect to have positive change in healthcare, in the reduction of maternal mortality rate and the general quality of life.

He remarked that with a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) Per capita of $2,000, Nigerian government would be unable to fund healthcare for all, and this is where PPP comes in.

According to the statement, the report is divided into three sections that look at how much is needed to improve healthcare provision in Africa, the role of impact investing as a possible solution and what next steps African countries can take to encourage impact investing and healthcare financing on the continent.

The report also provides insights on the current state of healthcare in Africa, deep dives into the reasons for the deplorable state of healthcare in Africa whilst pinpointing key areas for investment.

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