The United States International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) on Tuesday announced the first disbursement of a $5 million direct loan to Africa Healthcare Network (AHN), the largest operator of dialysis centers in East Africa amid disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The project is part of DFC’s Global Health and Prosperity Initiative, under which the agency is working to strengthen global health systems.
Independent studies estimate that there are over 1 million patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) in Sub-Saharan Africa requiring dialysis, and that the region requires over 50 times the current number of centers to meet the demand.
The pandemic has impacted the ability for countries to address and respond to non-communicable diseases (NCDs), and those living with NCDs, including chronic kidney disease (CKD), are at an increased risk of becoming severely ill with COVID-19 and even die.
DFC’s financing will help increase patient access to safe dialysis treatment and help mitigate disruption to essential health services.
“DFC continues to support global health and sustainable economic growth in developing countries during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond,” said DFC’s Vice President of the Office of External Affairs and Head of Global Gender Equity Initiatives Algene Sajery. “This investment in AHN will expand access to affordable, high quality healthcare across Sub-Saharan Africa through its operation of lifesaving dialysis centers.”
AHN is the largest and most expansive dialysis services provider in East Africa with 18 dialysis centers in Kenya, Tanzania, and Rwanda offering high-quality, affordable care.
DFC funding will allow AHN to support growth throughout Sub-Saharan Africa as it continues to build and operate additional dialysis centers through partnerships with leading hospitals in the region.
“Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, DFC has undertaken a multifaceted approach to mitigate the pandemic’s impact by providing rapid response recovery lending to existing DFC clients in developing countries; providing economic recovery lending to new DFC clients in vulnerable regions that support small and medium sized businesses, especially women-owned or women led businesses; and strengthening health systems,” the agency said in a statement. “Also, as part of the overall U.S. global response to the COVID-19 pandemic, DFC is partnering with the private sector, other DFIs, U.S. government agencies, and other organizations.”
In addition to financing this vital project, DFC is strengthening global health systems by working to provide businesses with financing to increase capacity in the manufacturing, production, and distribution of vaccines, including the COVID-19 vaccine, under DFC’s development strategy Roadmap for Impact.
DFC says it is also prioritizing investments that empower women and advance its 2X Women’s Initiative, as women are often disproportionately impacted by crises, especially when they seek access to capital.
“DFC is accepting proposals under its Global Health and Prosperity Initiative. The agency seeks to invest between $5 million and $500 million per eligible project through its full range of financial tools, which includes equity and debt financing, political risk insurance, and technical development. Eligible projects should deliver highly impactful health outcomes in developing countries,” the agency added.