Global Health Strategy in Action: A new loan to expand the Medical Credit Fund
December 15, 2015
Today, Calvert Foundation completed a $3.4 million loan to grow our relationship with the Medical Credit Fund, an innovative financing vehicle initiated by the PharmAccess Foundation. This financing enables the Medical Credit Fund (MCF) to expand its work to meet the needs of the broader health delivery value chain. It’s part of our new Global Health portfolio strategy, which aims to provide debt capital to strengthen the health delivery infrastructure in emerging economies.
For the past five years, MCF has lent to small health clinics in Kenya, Tanzania, Nigeria, and Ghana, alongside local banks, with two lofty goals:
To provide access to capital and technical assistance to small health clinics so they are able to provide higher quality affordable services to their patients.
To prove to the banking system that the health sector is financeable, creating a scalable source of capital for a sector that, for many years, was avoided by bankers because of high perceived risk.
They have made significant progress towards both of those goals. MCF has financed 740 clinics, disbursed over $10 million in loan capital, and provided technical assistance services to over 1,200 clinics. This mix of capital and business support has yielded tremendous results. Over 1,500 medical professionals have received business and quality training. They have drastically increased the capacity of these clinics to provide higher quality maternal and child health services and to treat common conditions like malaria and diarrhea.
MCF has provided financing alongside nine banking partners, most of whom now have a reformed perspective on and deeper understanding of the health sector; a sector with lower loss rates than their traditional SME financing portfolios.
This high level of performance, paired with the continued dedication and passion from their team, drove our desire to continue supporting their work.
The new loan will allow MCF to provide larger loans to clinics and small hospitals with growing capital needs through a vehicle designed to build the portfolio in this new segment. It will also allow them to diversify outside of clinics to meet the needs they see evolving across manufacturing, supplies, devices, and distribution.
I was lucky enough to see an example of what our new loan will finance on a recent trip to Kenya. While there, we went to Kericho, a town about two hours from Kisumu, to visit Siloam Hospital.
Siloam was founded in 1999 by an incredible woman named Alice to provide health services to their surrounding community, a population of over 1 million people that live 100km from an urban area. For their first 11 years, they did not have any access to capital so had to self-finance any small investments from their thin operating margins. In 2010, they received their first $5,000 loan from MCF and K-Rep (a local bank) to make small improvements to their facility and started working with MCF’s technical assistance partner to get their first SafeCare rating (PharmAccess’s quality standards rating program).
Fast forward five years to my visit this fall. Siloam was applying for a $1,000,000 loan to expand their operating capacity, build a new maternity ward, and grow their ICU and had been awarded as a Center of Excellence by SafeCare, achieving the highest rating of any hospital in their region. During the years in between, the credit and business support provided to them by MCF helped them improve their quality and clinical practices, which allowed them to grow their patient load from 200 per month to 2,000 per month. They used the MCF loans, all of which they have fully repaid, to finance critical updates to their infrastructure, improve their IT management systems, and hire the requisite staff and expertise.
Their story is a wonderful reminder of the power and impact of credit for businesses working in underserved or overlooked sectors that serve the basic needs of their population.
We are thrilled to begin the next chapter of our relationship with the Medical Credit Fund and look forward to sharing their stories with all of you – the investors that make this work possible – for years to come.