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Roha Hospital Ethiopia Secures USD 42 Million in First Round Funding

This first equity phase is part of USD 130 million investment to place Ethiopia on a USD 5 billion African medical tourism map with the development of a new specialty Roha hospital in Addis Ababa.

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This first equity phase is part of USD 130 million investment to place Ethiopia on a USD 5 billion African medical tourism map with the development of a new specialty Roha Hospital in Addis Ababa.

In a milestone for one of Africa’s biggest healthcare developments, Roha Medical Campus (RMC) receives fresh investment from shareholders for a major new advanced multispecialty hospital in Addis Ababa, bringing a total initial capital to USD 42 million.

The equity funding represents the first tranche of a USD 130 million investment to build phase one of Roha Medical Campus, a 350-bed world-class hospital. Additional shareholder funding as well as USD70 million in debt led by an undisclosed development finance institution are earmarked for Q2 2024.

Already midway through construction, the first hospital is due to open in 2025, with a further USD200 million investment planned to expand the campus to include additional specialized hospitals and medical facilities, as well as a teaching, research, and innovation hub.

Located less than a kilometre from East Africa’s busiest international airport, the hospital puts Addis Ababa on the map for the continent’s USD 5 billion-a-year medical tourism industry while stemming Ethiopia’s USD 500 million annual healthcare outflow.

Currently the standard connector for Africans flying to South Asia or the Middle East for medical care, Ethiopian Airlines’ Addis Ababa Bole International Airport will soon become the gateway to one of the most significant health treatment hubs on the continent.

Designed to be Ethiopia’s first JCI-accredited1 hospital, Roha Medical Campus claims it will alleviate an acute shortage of advanced medical facilities and healthcare services for Africa’s second largest nation and patients in the region. With over 4,000 medical, administrative and ancillary staff, RMC representatives says it will provide many pioneering treatments that are brand new or limited in availability locally and across Africa.

Alongside emergency treatment and routine care focused on comprehensive and preventative medicine, specialty treatments will include orthopedics, neurosurgery, spine treatment, interventional cardiology, cardiac surgery, endovascular interventions, nuclear medicine, and oncology treatments.

Ethiopia’s hospitals currently have only 6% of the total hospital beds required, significantly below East African peers, according to the World Health Organisation.

RMC Geneal Manager Welela Haileselassie says that at least three-quarters of patients are expected to be Ethiopian, and the Campus will commit to receiving significant numbers of referrals from the government health system at discounted rates.

“It is critical for us to ensure that treatment is widely available across all communities. Living in Ethiopia, one too often hears of people who suffer without access to treatment. This is not right, it’s not equitable. This hospital will change lives and will save lives,” says Haileselassie.

RMC Founding Investor and Executive Chairman Brooks Washington says that Ethiopia is the right place for transformative African healthcare investment.

Washington claims that the Roha Medical Campus will support economic development through expanding inbound medical tourism as a potential key driver of much-needed foreign exchange. It may also advance Ethiopian Airlines’ position in African medical tourism and drive increased traveler volumes, as well as visitors to the airline’s 5-star Skylight Hotel, less than a kilometre from the campus.

“Ethiopian Airlines’ global connectivity strengthens the case for medical tourism and ensures strong US dollar revenue for the hospital. This is complemented by a fast-growing local population in need of better care and the government’s support of environmentally sustainable and impactful projects. Combined, this makes RMC an incredibly exciting prospect and a very promising investment,” says Washington.

Demand for specialty healthcare among Ethiopia’s 126 million people has increased due to a growing middle-class, rapid urbanization, changing lifestyles, and, the expanding presence of major international organisations in Addis Ababa such as the African Union and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa.

Public medical organizations in Ethiopia have historically focused on the acute need to expand healthcare to rural communities, control epidemics such as HIV and tuberculosis, and improve vaccination rates against communicable diseases. However, there is now an increased need to also treat heart disease, cancer, strokes, chronic respiratory disease, and diabetes, among other non-communicable diseases (NCDs).

According to RMC Deputy General Manager Dr Senait Beyene, deaths from NCDs in Ethiopia are nearly twice the average rate in developed nations, at 553 per 100,000 people, accounting for more than 50% of deaths in the country. Over half are below the age of 40.

The high mortality rate is primarily due to a lack of adequate infrastructure, including a shortage of skilled workers and unreliable supply chains for medicines and other essential products.

“NCD treatment is resource-intensive, demanding sophisticated infrastructure, high-quality supplies and medications, and skilled healthcare professionals. To address these issues, RMC will offer personalized, holistic and comprehensive care for diagnosing, treating, and following up with patients, ultimately improving health outcomes and long-term quality of life for individuals with NCDs,” says Beyene.

An extensive training program aims to transfer skills to enable Roha Medical Campus to have a predominantly Ethiopian medical team within five years. Initially, some of the physicians will be migrants. Advanced hospital facilities and opportunities to work on complicated procedures will facilitate expat recruitment and help to reverse the African health sector brain drain. Learning opportunities will extend to all healthcare workers as well as general hospital staff to increase retention of skilled professionals and ensure global standards of care.

Roha Medical Campus is constructing a state-of-the-art building specifically designed for providing world-class care. In line with a commitment to sustainability and environmental responsibility, Roha Medical Campus claims it will be carbon neutral, with a forest of over 12,000 native trees planted on the campus, in-line with the Ethiopian government’s ambitious Green Legacy Initiative.

The surrounding forest creates a natural environment while lowering temperatures, reducing air and noise pollution, mitigating floods, and attracting local birds and insects. The campus will be the first IFC EDGE-certified hospital building in Ethiopia, hosting an advanced waste management system with clean technologies, solar power generation and battery storage, and a thermally-activated heating and cooling system.

Notes from the Editor:  Roha is a UNPRI signatory, with offices in Africa, the US and Europe. The Roha Group claims to have invested over USD 200 million in companies in Ethiopia.

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