FMO forms partnership to accelerate universal health coverage in Africa

08 Mar 2021

The partnership aims to unlock investments in primary health care in underserved communities in Sub-Saharan Africa

Philips and FMO announced today, at the occasion of the AHAIC 2021 conference, that they have signed a wider partnership agreement aimed at improving access to quality primary care in Africa. The partnership is built on the shared belief that private sector innovations and partnerships result in better and affordable care underpinned by investable business models for underserved communities.

Under the agreement, Philips and FMO will work together on primary healthcare projects in low- to medium-income countries in Sub-Saharan Africa to develop projects from ideation to proof of concept – testing innovations in real life settings to validate clinical and financial assumptions and making improvements so that investment decisions on scaling can be made more confidently. The initial scope of the project is to provide development financing for around ten projects over the next five years. Each project receives approximately EUR 1 million in catalytic funding for proof of concept.

“COVID-19 has underscored the need for well-functioning primary healthcare systems, however investments in primary healthcare are lagging behind,” said Jan-Willem Scheijgrond, Vice-President, Government and Public Affairs at Philips. “This is mainly because it has remained challenging to improve the quality of care and drive digitization, keep within the limited budgets available from governments, while attracting investments. This latest agreement with FMO will help address these issues, marking a major step forward in our plans in Africa and other developing countries to enable access to care for 300 million people in underserved communities by 2025.”

“With this partnership we want to leverage more resources to benefit the African population,” said Janet Nieboer, Director NL Business at FMO. “Strengthening the primary healthcare system is essential for economic development and reducing inequalities in a country. Investments in primary healthcare benefit the entire health chain. To be able to achieve these impacts at scale, we develop innovative business models where the public and private sector cooperate. Together with Philips and other partners like Amref and UNFPA, we already create real change momentum.”

The activities covered by today’s agreement mainly focus on scouting for project development opportunities, provide capital and developing those to become investable at scale, and bringing in all relevant partners to ensure projects are sustainable both financially and clinically. Philips and FMO are therefore entering the partnership on the express understanding that it is not exclusive and that other parties can join, either on a project or partnership basis.

Philips and FMO, which manages development funds for the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy, both believe that entrepreneurship is key to creating sustainable economic growth and improving people’s quality of life, especially in underserved communities.

It’s why they already collaborate with Amref Health Africa and the Makueni County government in Kenya to deliver sustainable primary care to the 1 million inhabitants of Makueni County, where more than 60% of the population live below the poverty line. The Makueni project is now developed to a level that it can be rolled out at scale as a public-private partnership.

Philips is also collaborating with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the Government of the Republic of Congo to improve access to Maternal and Child healthcare for a target population of 500,000 inhabitants. At the end of the demonstration phase of this project, the solution will be ready to attract investors to scale the solution nationally, bringing access to improved quality care to all women and children in the country.

About Royal Philips

Royal Philips (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHIA) is a leading health technology company focused on improving people's health and enabling better outcomes across the health continuum from healthy living and prevention, to diagnosis, treatment and home care. Philips leverages advanced technology and deep clinical and consumer insights to deliver integrated solutions. Headquartered in the Netherlands, the company is a leader in diagnostic imaging, image-guided therapy, patient monitoring and health informatics, as well as in consumer health and home care. Philips generated 2020 sales of EUR 19.5 billion and employs approximately 82,000 employees with sales and services in more than 100 countries. News about Philips can be found at

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