The International Finance Corporation (IFC) has partnered with JSE-listed logistics group Imperial to develop a modular Covid-19 screening and treatment healthcare infrastructure programme in sub-Saharan Africa.
With support from IFC, Imperial will first develop a pilot project in South Africa to manufacture and deploy these modular healthcare units to provide healthcare services to Covid-19 patients.
Imperial aims to set up these units in densely populated, low-income urban areas where access to healthcare services is limited.
Going forward, Imperial intends to again partner with IFC to develop additional pilots in other countries in the region, including Nigeria, Kenya and Ghana, in response to country-specific needs and approaches that can be scaled up with assistance of private healthcare services operators and government partnerships.
“There is an urgent need to increase diagnostic and treatment capacity, improve healthcare infrastructure, and provide medical supplies to underserved communities throughout sub-Saharan Africa.
“This partnership will create a much-needed model for doing so rapidly and effectively – and for supporting communities at a time of great need,” says Imperial group CEO Mohammed Akoojee.
The healthcare infrastructure programme is now part of IFC’s Upstream business, which is an ambitious new growth strategy of the corporation to address complex development challenges by supporting market innovations, early-stage project development efforts and regulatory interventions that will unlock opportunities for private investment.
The South African pilot project will comprise five modular screening and treatment units, which can be deployed in less than a day and will continue to cater to primary healthcare needs beyond the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Our upstream work is designed to look for innovative ways to bring private sector financing to where it is needed most, and we are excited about partnering with Imperial on new avenues for fighting the Covid-19 pandemic by expanding screening and treatment opportunities, as well as increasing access to healthcare [for rural communities],” says IFC South Africa country manager Adamou Labara.
Imperial’s work in the healthcare sector includes market access and logistics services in more than 20 African countries. The company also specialises in the use of modular medical infrastructure to deliver primary healthcare, while having invested in initiatives such as Unjani Clinics.
Unjani Clinics is a nurse-led network of modular clinics that provides primary healthcare to under-served communities in South Africa. Imperial is leveraging this network to deploy the pilot treatment units in the communities of Tokoza, Villa Lisa, Winterveldt, Kagiso and Orange Farm.