Access to health services is vital to every country’s welfare. When such services are not available, it can prevent citizens from reaching their full potential, as well as limit a nation’s growth and prosperity. In Uganda, many barriers constrain the private health service sector, one of which is a lack of access to financing, such as loans. Improving access to financing and providing financial-management training can strengthen the delivery of private health services—a key objective of the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Uganda Private Health Support (PHS) program.
Working under the USAID/Uganda PHS program in partnership with Cardno Emerging Markets, Banyan Global is leading the work to improve private health business’ financial-management capacity and access to financing. We facilitated a loan from Ecobank for Abii Clinic,a private health care service provider in Kampala. The Banyan Global team in Uganda assisted Abii Clinic to secure a loan of nearly $60,000 to purchase new medical equipment. The project’s access-to-finance team lead, Francis Zikusooka, credits the success of the loan negotiations to the fact that Abii Clinic is a repeat borrower from Ecobank, giving it a “traceable and reliable credit history.” In 2015, Abii Clinic was a recipient of the project’s Health as a Business (HaaB) business-development services, in which the clinic was advised to establish daily banking of its cash receipts with Ecobank; this practice contributed to a significant boost in Abii Clinic’s credit score, and allowed it to accumulate substantial cash reserves. In turn Abii Clinic’s management negotiated favorable terms for its loan. In fact, Abii Clinic obtained a loan using a fixed deposit account as collateral, rather than a land title—the latter of which often comes with prohibitively high property-valuation expenses.
As a result of the loan, Abii Clinic purchased new medical equipment and began developing a relationship with Crown Healthcare, a local equipment vendor. According to Mr. Zikusooka, “This new equipment will enable the introduction of a complete line of diagnostic services for Abii Clinic’s clients and expand its monthly revenue stream.” With the project’s assistance, Abii Clinic negotiate a 2 percent discount on the purchased equipment and acquired a new payment system, enabling clients to pay for services using credit and debit cards. Mr. Zikusooka notes that the introduction of an electronic payment system has allowed Abii Clinic to begin “a slow but perceptible shift [to] cashless payments,” affording clients increased convenience and security.