The African Health Markets for Equity partnership is taking a $60 million investment from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development to work with the International Finance Corporation to improve the health care sector in Nigeria.
AHME’s focus is on increasing coverage of priority health technologies and interventions for poor Nigerians by building on past investments. The partnership works with organizations that are already strong in specific areas, including: Marie Stopes International, Grameen Foundation, SafeCare, Population Services International, PharmAccess, and the Society for Family Health Nigeria. IFC will give technical support to AHME’s partners in Nigeria.
According to the AHME website, the five-year program will focus on increasing the scope and scale of franchised health care. This will mean expanding from family planning and sexual and reproductive health to also focus on malaria, acute respiratory infections, nutrition, maternal care, diarrhea, HIV and tuberculosis. AHME also operates in Kenya and Ghana.
In Nigeria the investment will target health care providers like hospitals, pharmacies, and clinics. By the end of the five year program the World Bank said it expects at least 300 rural health facilities will have benefitted from the support funneled through the AHME project. More than 60 percent of health care in Nigeria is currently supplied by private providers.
Khama Rogo, the lead health sector specialist with the World Bank said in a World Bank Facebook post about the Nigerian partnership, “there is a big health market in Nigeria that’s untapped, leveraging on this through private providers would improve access to the poor… Nigerians have specialists all over the world. If these needed facilities are here, there is nothing stopping them from coming to be of service here. “
Rogo estimated that 1 million people over the next five years could gain access to healthcare through the project. Currently many potential patients are effectively denied healthcare because they must pay for it at the point of delivery.
The project will invest in upgrading health facilities and supporting staff strength and resources by strategically working in several different areas, including policy, quality improvement, and health care provider access to capital and demand-side financing in the form of innovative ways to address how patients can afford healthcare.
– Liza Casabona