Access to affordable, quality healthcare is a recurring issue around the globe, but especially in Africa. FINCA recognizes that when customers have access to proper healthcare, the benefits not only flow to people who receive them but also to their families and communities. FINCA Ventures, FINCA’s newest program, exemplifies our dedication to addressing these issues. Through this impact investing program, we partner with and invest in social enterprises that provide innovative products and services to meet the basic needs of women and low-income families.
While FINCA’s mission is rooted in alleviating poverty through traditional financial services, FINCA Ventures’ investees offer adjacent products and services to women and their families in the agricultural, financial inclusion, and healthcare sectors. FINCA Ventures’ approach to building a strong healthcare portfolio is highlighted by some of their recent investments below.
The COVID-19 pandemic, which caused a significant drop in blood supply due to reduced blood drives, lockdown orders, and other infrastructure issues, has increased a global blood shortage of more than 100 million units of donor blood each year.
For this reason, FINCA Ventures invested in Sisu, a medical device company focused on developing new medical technology for emerging markets. Sisu Global designed Hemafuse, a handheld autotransfusion device, as a solution to the global donor blood shortage. The device enables clinicians to salvage, filter and recycle blood from patients with internal bleeding. Essentially, the Hemafuse product allows patients to “donate” blood to themselves, during both trauma and planned surgery. Blood is filtered to eliminate clots and particles before being transferred to a blood bag and re-transfused into the patient within five to eight minutes.
More than 70 percent of Hemafuse use cases involve ruptured ectopic pregnancies. Ruptured ectopic pregnancy is the most common cause of maternal death in the first trimester, accounting for 10 to 15 percent of all maternal deaths worldwide. In Kenya, 5,000 women die each year because of complications during or after childbirth — 2,000 of which from excessive blood loss and lack of blood transfusion services. The Hemafuse device not only saves one mother’s life, but it also increases the amount of unused donor blood available for other mothers who aren’t candidates for autotransfusion and are suffering from postpartum hemorrhage. Sisu Global, founded by Carolyn Yarina and Gillian Henker is working to improve maternal health outcomes for women and their families across the continent.
Another recent addition to FINCA Ventures’ portfolio is Penda Health. Penda Health is a female co-founded company that primarily serves women and children at its primary care clinics. Penda offers a wide range of outpatient services (including pre- and post-natal care, lab, pharmacy, and consultation) through 22 convenient locations in Nairobi, all of which are within one bus ride of the city’s nine million residents.
Penda Health provides a low-cost, simple way for low-income, mass-market patients to receive quality care and customer service for less than $10 per visit, either paid in cash or through insurance. Penda serves to alleviate the financial burden of circumstances that escalate to more costly forms of care, such as hospitalization, by giving patients access to preventative care. By combining in-person and digital healthcare systems that improve efficiencies and quality, Penda can grow rapidly while maintaining trust among its patients to make reliable healthcare accessible in family’s neighborhoods, helping women and their families to lead healthier and more productive lives.
MDaaS Global (Medical Devices as a Service) is another social enterprise that FINCA Ventures has invested in. With a clear diagnosis of Africa’s health trajectory, MDaaS Global delivers affordable and accessible diagnostic services in clinically underserved communities. Patients have access to tech-enabled centers that offer radiology, cardiology, and laboratory services at an affordable cost.
MDaaS recently released a mass testing guide on how to set up and operate a COVID-19 sample collection site in low-resource settings, as well as two COVID-19 sample collection sites in Ogun and Kwara States and SentinelX, a platform that offers patients a comprehensive health screening and ongoing virtual care.
FINCA Ventures’ efforts to expand its healthcare portfolio amplifies FINCA’s commitment to improving access to quality healthcare services.