HealthPartners awarded $7.9M to continue global health efforts in Africa, Central America
Using funds from United States Agency for International Development, HealthPartners will improve health insurance models and build care systems for women and children
BLOOMINGTON, Minn. – Building on nearly two decades of global health work, HealthPartners has received a $7.9 million grant from United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to expand its lifesaving mission in Africa and Central America over the next five years.
The majority of funds will be used in Uganda, where for nearly 20 years HealthPartners has worked to build health insurance cooperatives that minimize healthcare costs for more than 50,000 people and improve their access to care.
“HealthPartners was founded as a co-op in 1957, which made healthcare more affordable for people in Minnesota and the region,” said Scott Aebischer, senior vice president of customer service and product innovation at HealthPartners. “Many areas of the world still lack good healthcare so it’s our responsibility to share the knowledge we’ve gained to help more people be healthy. It’s an extension of our mission.”
Having built a sustainable financial framework for healthcare delivery, now HealthPartners will work with local government and non-government organizations in Uganda to create care centers. These care centers will specifically focus on the health and well-being of young women and children.
While maternal and infant mortality has decreased significantly in Uganda and other sub-Saharan countries since 1990, according to UNICEF data, rates remain well-above the global average.
These health centers will connect girls ages 10 to 19 with adult mentors and teach them about reproductive health, income generation and money management, nutrition, leadership and other life skills that improve health and wellbeing.
“One of our guiding philosophies at HealthPartners is that 80 percent of good health is determined by what happens outside of clinics and hospitals,” Aebischer said. “We want these centers to empower young women and kids so that they can overcome the social determinants that get in the way of good health.”
Additional grant resources will be used in Madagascar, Kenya and Guatemala to replicate the development of healthcare cooperative models in Uganda. After these countries have a more sustainable way to afford proper healthcare, HealthPartners hopes to also create care centers there, too, much like the successful efforts in Uganda.
Founded in 1957, the HealthPartners family of health care companies serves more than one million medical and dental health plan members nationwide. It is the largest consumer-governed, nonprofit health care organization in the nation, providing care, coverage, research and education to improve the health of members, patients and the community.