Medical Credit Fund phase II launched to help resolve funding challenges

BY: Graphic.com.gh
Dr Maxwell Antwi — Country Director, PharmAccess
Dr Maxwell Antwi — Country Director, PharmAccess

Phase two of PharmAccess's Medical Credit Fund to help resolve some of the funding challenges in the health sector has been launched in Accra.

It is to help boost Ghana's healthcare delivery and make health care delivery more sustainable and effective.

The MFC II, which is a €32.5m loan facility, is intended to reduce the challenges faced by small and medium sized healthcare companies in accessing loans and other credit facilities to widen their operations and expand their outreach.

Speaking at the launch of the loan facility on Wednesday [March 23, 2022], the Country Manager of the Medical Credit Fund, Derrick Ewudzie-Odoom, explained that the essence of the facility is to deal with the bottlenecks associated with health care financing in Ghana.

According to him, his outfit is aware of the unique challenges, which affect health care businesses in the country. He therefore stated that, the loans from MFC II are designed to address these challenges, without demanding collaterals from the loan applicants.

'Over the years, our work has not been only loans. We don't just give loans, but we accompany all the loans that we give with business support, quality support and training. And when we talk about business support, we help all the health SMEs design investment plans.

A lot of the times, health businesses have ideas that do not culminate into plans, and we engage them and we design these plans so that they can go; and we also help them. We provide financial management advice to ensure that they manage their business finances well", Mr. Ewudzie Odoom said.

He also added that, "We also help or we assist them in terms of their project planning. When they want to do construction, we help them with the construction management; how the patient flow is supposed to be and the design of the hospital so that it will be in tandem with modern trends".

At the ceremony, the first MCF II loan was presented to the Emil Memorial Hospital in Wenchi. Prior to presentation of a dummy cheque of three million Ghana Cedis, the Chief Executive Officer of the hospital, Dr. Simon Koku Saku, testified of support of the Fund in the hospital's operations.

In his delivery, he stated that since its establishment, the hospital has been going through some difficulties, in the course of rendering health care services to the locals in its environs. Dr. Saku said in order to widen its operations, the hospital agreed to construct some departments; an initiative which was made possible by the MCF II.

"We approached several financial institutions, both local and international to help finance the project of completing a two storey building to accommodate these departments. But unfortunately, none was ready to lend us a hand by giving us the credit required. We heard of Medical Credit Fund through PharmAccess and decided to approach them to help finance the project.

After a careful evaluation of the project, Medical Credit Fund agreed to fund the project and also purchase medical equipment worth millions of Ghana cedis. The project is scheduled to be completed in June this year" he said. He therefore expressed his profound gratitude to the Fund, for helping the hospital realise its objectives.

Netherlands Ambassador to Ghana, His Excellency Ambassador Jeroen Verheul, who was a keynote speaker at the event, expressed his delight about the launch of the Fund, and stressed on the impact of the initiative over the years.

In his submissions, he recounted his familiarity with the Medical Credit Fund, during his years as an ambassador to Uganda and Tanzania respectively. According to him, he was also privy to the Fund at a conference in Nairobi in 2016, and therefore he is happy that the MCF II has come to Ghana.

"So I have quite an extensive exposure to the product that we're discussing here, and I must say that I'm privileged and I feel it's a great pleasure to be able to launch the Medical Credit Fund II here in Ghana. And when say number two, that means that there must be a number one. Like with kings and queens, there's always a number one. And I think the one laid the foundation for the number two that we're launching here", the Netherlands Ambassador said.

A Senior Policy Advisor at the Netherlands Foreign Affairs Ministry, Ms. Anouk Aarts also touched on the significance of the Fund.

She reiterated that, "health is wealth", and therefore the package by the MCF II is a welcome idea.

The launch of the MCF II was attended by participants and stakeholders from the health sector. The Diocesan Bishop of the Catholic Church at Keta-Akatsi, Most Reverened Gabriel Edoe Kumordji, was among the list of dignitaries who graced the occasion.

Country Director of PharmAcces, Dr. Maxwell Antwi, together with the Managing Director of Medical Credit Fund, Mr. Arjan Poels, were also present at the event, and shared a few words with the audience on the objective of the Fund and how it seeks to better the fortunes of the private health sector in Ghana.

As part of the ceremony, a panel discussion was also moderated by the Chief Executive Officer of the Healthcare Federation Ghana and Franklyn Medical Centre, Dr. Lynda Decker, to discuss the 'Financing Healthcare Businesses in Ghana'.

The discussants included the President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana, Pharm. Samuel Kow Donkoh; the Country Manager of GE Healthcare, Mr. Daniel Amo-Korankye and the Chief Executive Officer of Cross Care Hospital in Sunyani, Mrs. Evelyn Dzantor.

The launch of the Fund was emceed by the Managing Director of the Koforidua Clinic and a Lead Consultant of A-League Consult, Mr. John Affiadzi Appiah, amidst cultural displays by the Vivie's Dance Factory.

About MCF II

MCF recently announced the completion of EUR 32.5 m fund-raise for its second fund (MCF II). The funding round was anchored by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which provided the first equity injection of EUR 7.5 million in January 2021, to cater to the demand for loans during the height of the COVID-19 crisis.

Also participating in this funding round are international organizations such as CDC Group, FMO, SwedFund and Philips. In addition, MCF will benefit from a guarantee facility by U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC), which was initiated by the Health Finance Coalition (HFC) with support of the U.S. President's Malaria Initiative (PMI) and USAID's Center for Innovation & Impact (CII).

Through blended finance, MCF uses catalytic capital from both public and private sources and is targeting to grow to EUR 80 million in the next few years and will support EUR 400 million in loans to health SMEs in the next decade.

The launch of MCF II marks the beginning of a new era. An era in which MCF will further grow its reach and impact. MCF II will deploy innovative digital finance solutions to increase investments in Africa's health infrastructure and improve access to better primary healthcare services in Africa.

Starting in its current countries of operation (Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda), and spreading its wings to other countries over time.