Business Case: Africa’s Health Care Epidemic

Health Care in Africa is arguably the worst in the world, with governments spending less than 2% of budget on the essential well-being of its citizenry. A population set at approximately one (1) billion, health care is a genocidal epidemic for those below the African poverty line. Contrastingly, if managed properly could well stimulate an economic boom for the sector, one only needs look at the mobile phone usage which exploded across Africa.

In considering the issues and possible business solutions, it is important to note that initial assumptions may postulate social impact investment as the sole means of tackling the epidemic. Nevertheless, the resultant job growth and sector expansion will produce profitability in short procession. Africa has debatably had a very restrained capital market.

The issues include:

The pervasive lack of access to primary health care, exacerbated by downturns in medical tourism absconds any sustainable options for medical treatment. Africa must look inward for basic health solutions and regional medical tourism. Two in six children born in the region today will die before age five. African women face more than 100 times the risk of maternal mortality than do women in the developed world. The average life expectancy in sub-Saharan Africa is a meager 46 years. Millions of Africans continue to suffer from diseases that are comparatively simple to prevent, treat, and cure. “Noncommunicable diseases like diabetes, cancer and high blood pressure are projected to overtake communicable and nutritional diseases as the most common causes of death in Africa by 2030.” Prevalent lack of adequate protective equipment, insufficient wages, low morale, heightened social conflicts and wars. “There is a growing effort to make hospitals more casual and comfortable for patients, instead of wasting money on non-revenue producing spaces to make them look like expensive hotels.” In formulating a holistic solution, here is a compilation of Revenue Streams (RVS) and Business Models with combined outcome that leads to profitability:

Business Model/RVS 1: Digital technologies, combine local health officers, globally supported telemedicine, mobile clinics with call centers staffed by nurses (reachable by mobile paid calls, in partnership with Telecom Operators). “The rapidly expanding use of mobile phones makes this feasible even in resource-poor environments.” Across the continent, 65% of the population had a mobile phone in 2011 and more than half of Africa’s population will live in cities by 2030.

Business Model/RVS 2: Community medical centers, flagship hospitals, outpatient clinics as the central network to support other Models.

Business Model/RVS 3: Diagnostic approach in designing prevention, treatment, cure and predictive outbreaks with containment techniques.

Business Model/RVS 4: Regional Medical Tourism Network supporting Africa. For example, Tanzanians in 2006 alone, they spent $208 million to $265 million out of pocket on health care. The market for local care and medical tourist in Africa is over $3 billion, with proper management can reach $10 billion at 60% fulfillment.

Business Model/RVS 5: Local Pharmacia and Supplies production system to substantially reduce drug costs. Export where feasible and cut into the global market. This will improve delivery of supplies would reduce frustration and goals become attainable.

Business Model/RVS 6: Public-private-International Partnerships and Institutions for health: Partnerships is a key differentiator; the opportunities are immeasurable. “For example, USAID and Orange, the global telecommunications operator, just announced a new collaboration to find innovative ways to use mobile phones to accelerate access to health information and services in Africa.” The Novartis Malaria Initiative (with the UN) is one of the largest access-to-medicine programs in the healthcare industry. The initiative focuses on improving access to treatment, helping communities deliver better healthcare, and investing in research and development. With support from the Novartis Research Foundation, Novartis has partnered with H3D, the first drug discovery and development center on the African continent.

Business Model/RVS 7: Support Existing Capitalized Financial Health Carters for Africa. See Options below:

♦️ IFC and partners are planning to mobilize up to $1 billion of investment and advisory services support over the next few years.

♦️ The Health in Africa Fund, managed by Aureos Capital ($120 million), will invest in small- and medium-sized companies in sub-Saharan Africa, such as health clinics and diagnostic centers, with the goal of helping low-income Africans gain access to affordable, high-quality health services.

♦️ Investment Fund for Health in Africa II (IFHA II) aims to foster better access to private healthcare services in Sub-Saharan Africa which suffers from a shortage of infrastructure; commitment $24 million.

♦️ Africa Health Systems Management Company B.V: commitment $250 million.

♦️ In the 2001 Abuja Declaration, African governments admirably pledged 15% of their annual budgets on healthcare by 2015; Opportunity with governments.

♦️ The Global Impact Investing Network’s (GIIN) estimates the current size of the global impact investing market to be $502 billion, a substantial opportunity.

Evercare: Expanding and enhancing the physical infrastructure of hospitals and clinics that serve lower-income patients, Evercare is building networks of health facilities in high-growth markets in Africa and Asia. UNICEF’s Bridge Fund is an accelerator for the provision of healthcare commodities that offers investors a reliable fixed rate of return while deploying critical supplies for relief and development globally. The Global Health Investment Fund (GHIF) has a robust portfolio of companies focused on the development of pharmaceuticals, vaccines and diagnostics to address infectious diseases in Africa and other parts of the developing world. TEAMFund is prioritizing non-communicable diseases (NCD) through investments in digital tools and diagnostics in emerging markets that include sub-Saharan Africa. Kinect is developing blockchain technology to engage patients and improve health outcomes in the developing world, with an explicit focus on supporting the SDGs. The business case for health care in Africa is justifiably one of greatest opportunities to expand the world economic participation, slow down a shrinking world economy which has been decidedly impacted by the current pandemic.