Abraaj Growth Markets Health Fund Case Study

Abraaj is creating a new investment fund for SDG 3 to address poor healthcare outcomes from inefficient healthcare systems.

Abraaj is creating a new investment fund related to SDG 3 Good Health and Well-Being. Their fund brings together partnership capital to address poor healthcare outcomes caused by inefficient healthcare systems in Africa and Asia.

For every 10,000 people in the world, there’s an average of 15 doctors. In Ethiopia, the figure is 0.2. When it comes to other medical resources, the numbers are also bleak: two nurses per 10,000 people, compared to a global average of 33; two hospital beds, versus 27 for the wider world; and just 10 births attended by skilled personnel, far short of the average of 67 achieved across the planet, and a fraction of the US or UK’s average of 99.1

Ethiopia is just one example. From Nigeria to Bangladesh, Kenya to Pakistan, low- and middle-income countries trail their richer counterparts on healthcare provision.2 And the outcomes are serious. Nigeria has an infant mortality rate of 69 per 1,000 live births, according to World Bank data; in the UK, it’s 4.3 In India, 174 mothers die per 100,000 live births; in the US it’s 14.4 Academic research suggests 22.6 million DALYs (disability-adjusted life years) were lost due to unsafe hospital care in 2009, two thirds of them in low- and middle-income countries.5 There are economic consequences too: the World Bank says almost a million Kenyans are pushed below the poverty line annually by medical bills.6

So what can be done? The Abraaj Group, a leading investor in growth markets, believes a lot – and that the investment community has a crucial role to play. It has established a healthcare fund to deliver high-quality, mass-market healthcare for low- and middle-income groups, particularly in Africa and South Asia, with the goal of optimising profitability while achieving measurable social impact. Investors include the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, healthcare operators such as Philips and Medtronic, institutional and development partners.

Abraaj’s healthcare strategy is to focus on improving care in the fields of non-communicable disease and mother and child health in 10 cities, including Lagos, Karachi, Accra and Nairobi, which together represent a catchment area of 250 million people. Recognising that existing health systems are hampered by weak funding, infrastructure and skills, Abraaj takes an integrated approach – creating networked ‘ecosystems’ of facilities from tertiary hospitals to labs and imaging centres that can work together to make the most of the resources they have. By connecting facilities and personnel across specialties and geographies, for example through telehealth and doctor exchange programmes, the idea is to find synergies that can boost the quality of care while saving both providers and consumers precious funds.7

If AGHF achieves its goals, which it aims to do by early 2020, it could see 14 million patients in its hospitals each year, 54,000 hospital employees delivering quality care across the networks, and 275 diagnostic centres providing much-needed pathology and imaging services across target markets. Most strikingly, the healthcare platform is set to provide 10,500 additional hospital beds, marking a big boost to the accessibility and affordability of quality care.8


1 “Abraaj Growth Markets Health Fund (“AGHF”), September 2016”. 

2 “Abraaj Growth Markets Health Fund (“AGHF”), September 2016”.

3 See http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SP.DYN.IMRT.IN.

4 See http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SH.STA.MMRT.

5 See http://www.turner-white.com/pdf/jcom_feb14_global.pdf.

6 See http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/feature/2014/10/28/improving-healthcare-for-kenyas-poor.

7 “Abraaj Growth Markets Health Fund (“AGHF”), September 2016”.

8 “Abraaj Growth Markets Health Fund (“AGHF”), September 2016”.