Inadequate access to finance is a major barrier to the growth of the private sector. Financial institutions are often hesitant to lend to the private health sector as they consider it risky. Private health care businesses tend to be owned and operated by clinicians with limited business and financial management capacity. As a result, many health care businesses lack business and financial records required by financial institutions to assess a loan request.
SHOPS Plus aims to increase lending to the private health sector by providing training and technical assistance to both financial institutions and private providers. The project also helps USAID identify financial institutions that could benefit from a Development Credit Authority guarantee. The DCA is a credit guarantee program that encourages lending to businesses—predominantly small and medium enterprises. The guarantee serves to stimulate commercial investment in health care to improve access to and quality of services.
SHOPS Plus improves access to credit for private providers to enhance or expand their practices. The project helps providers strengthen business management skills to improve overall management of the business. Technical assistance includes:
- Assessments – Determine a provider’s financial and business management needs and develop tailored technical assistance.
- Networking – Organize trade fairs for private providers to meet representatives of health equipment suppliers, pharmaceutical companies, and IT companies.
- Training and counseling – Provide instruction in improving credit-readiness and business and financial management. Advise providers on their options to access credit, support them in developing business plans, and guide them through the loan process
SHOPS Plus helps financial institutions expand their private health sector business. An assessment of the financial institutions’ readiness to expand health sector activities drives design of technical assistance projects. The project develops a strategy focused on creating a profitable segment and provides support in its implementation. Components of the implementation plan often include:
- Business development – Support sales activities to develop a strong pipeline of private health sector providers.
- Lending methodology – Develop appropriate systems, policies, and procedures.
- Development Credit Authority guarantee – Support financial institutions in implementation and utilization of the guarantee.
- Product development – Adapt, develop, and test financial and non-financial products targeting private health sector providers.
- Training – Train bank personnel on sales and loan evaluation techniques.
Example of our work
In Madagascar, local private providers struggle to obtain credit to buy equipment for their clinics and meet the demand for health services in their community. SHOPS Plus works with AccèsBanque and local health equipment suppliers to develop an equipment financing product targeting private providers. With backing from USAID’s Development Credit Authority, local clinics will be able to purchase ultrasound machines, CT scanners, x-ray machines, and other equipment to improve the quality of their services.