Philips and the Dutch development bank FMO combine forces to accelerate universal health coverage in Africa

by Amref Health Africa

“COVID-19 has underscored the need for well-functioning primary healthcare systems, however investments in primary healthcare are lagging behind,” said Jan-Willem Scheijgrond, Vice-President, Government and Public Affairs at Philips. “This is mainly because it has remained challenging to improve the quality of care and drive digitization, keep within the limited budgets available from governments, while attracting investments. This latest agreement with FMO will help address these issues, marking a major step forward in our plans in Africa and other developing countries to enable access to care for 300 million people in underserved communities by 2025.”

“With this partnership we want to leverage more resources to benefit the African population,” said Janet Nieboer, Director NL Business at FMO. “Strengthening the primary healthcare system is essential for economic development and reducing inequalities in a country. Investments in primary healthcare benefit the entire health chain. To be able to achieve these impacts at scale, we develop innovative business models where the public and private sector cooperate. Together with Philips and other partners like Amref and UNFPA, we already create real change momentum.”

The activities covered by today’s agreement mainly focus on scouting for project development opportunities, provide capital and developing those to become investable at scale, and bringing in all relevant partners to ensure projects are sustainable both financially and clinically. Philips and FMO are therefore entering the partnership on the express understanding that it is not exclusive and that other parties can join, either on a project or partnership basis.

Philips and FMO, which manages development funds for the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy, both believe that entrepreneurship is key to creating sustainable economic growth and improving people’s quality of life, especially in underserved communities.

It’s why they already collaborate with Amref Health Africa and the Makueni County government in Kenya to deliver sustainable primary care to the 1 million inhabitants of Makueni County, where more than 60% of the population live below the poverty line. The Makueni project is now developed to a level that it can be rolled out at scale as a public private partnership.

Philips is also collaborating with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the Government of the Republic of Congo to improve access to Maternal and Child healthcare for a target population of 500,000 inhabitants. At the end of the demonstration phase of this project, the solution will be ready to attract investors to scale the solution nationally, bringing access to improved quality care to all women and children in the country.

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