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How DBSA helps to reduce health care challenges in rural areas

Health care is an essential system that promotes and maintains good health through various medical services that cater to individuals’ medical needs. It also helps drive the diagnosis of illnesses, prevention measures and treatment of injuries, diseases and other health impairments.

The quality of the health care system and services is critical in all countries and plays a huge role in the economy. Easy access to adequate health care is crucial in ensuring that citizens receive quality treatment. 

Africa faces a lot of disparities in the provision of quality health care. The challenges in the health sector differ by country. But the private and public sectors each have their challenges, particularly where infrastructure is concerned. There’s a significant gap between the needs of the population and the service provided to them. 

Health care challenges

The health care infrastructure in developing countries such as South Africa is lacking, especially in rural areas. There are only a few health facilities available, and some of them are damaged and lack the resources necessary for them to fully function and provide adequate services to people who live in these communities. There are fewer health professionals stationed at these facilities to attend to the population. Additionally, there’s a huge lack of information and communication resources to help the people in these marginalised communities understand the state of their health, including the measures they need to take to mitigate the risks. 

This presents opportunities for improving healthcare in Africa. However, mitigating rural healthcare challenges requires funding. This is where the DBSA comes in, as health is one of our operational areas. 

DBSA’s role in the health care sector

The Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) understands that social infrastructure is essential in the economic development of a nation and society’s quality of life. We understand that funding is a crucial resource that is necessary for improving health care systems in Africa. This is why our main purpose is to support public and private infrastructure programmes that promote sustainable development in rural areas. We prioritise programmes that are aligned with each beneficiary’s needs and the policies and goals set by the Department of Health.

To achieve this, we engage with financial institutions and the market to develop financial instruments that will enable investments to be made available. We collaborate with national, provincial and local governments to deliver against government priorities in this sector. We support the South African government in the refurbishment and upgrade of key physical infrastructure and resources. This, in turn, helps to accelerate the provision of social services. It bolsters public health programmes such as the National Health Insurance and Ideal Clinic programmes, the National Human Settlements programmes and the Student Housing Infrastructure Programme (SHIP), aimed at boosting resources in the country’s most vulnerable communities.

We recognise that development is multisectoral in nature, and an integrated approach is required to maximise the impact of investments. Therefore, when it comes to investment in social infrastructure such as health infrastructure, we explore support opportunities that involve investment in bulk, enabling infrastructure such as energy, water and transport. This accelerates the impact of development and stimulates economic growth.

Final thoughts

There’s a vast untapped potential of private and public investors to get involved in the processes of improving access to health care in Africa’s rural areas. All efforts towards developing health care will result in new and improved health care facilities, more skilled health care professionals, and sufficient medicine. This will, in turn, ensure efficient performance and delivery of health care services. 

DBSA’s primary purpose is to promote inclusive and sustainable economic development that improves people’s quality of life in Africa. Through our financing solutions, we’re able to accelerate the implementation of programmes for infrastructure development in the health care sector. By prioritising projects with development impact, we’re ensuring that rural areas become equipped to deliver effective health care services.

Countless rural communities face barriers to adequate health care due to lacking infrastructure and financial limitations. The DBSA aims to break down these barriers through stakeholder collaboration and funding. Here's how.