The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has signed a financing package of up to $8.39 million with Nephrocare Health Services Central Asia (NephroPlus) to set up four dialysis centers through a public-private partnership (PPP), the ADB press office said.
The deal is ADB's first private healthcare financing in Uzbekistan and supports the country's first international healthcare PPP.
The financing includes a loan of up to $5.03 million from ADB's ordinary capital resources and ADB's management of a loan of up to $3.36 million from Asia's Leading Private Infrastructure Fund (LEAP).
The funds will be used by NephroPlus for the design, construction, operation and maintenance of dialysis centers in Tashkent, Karakalpakstan and Khorezm region under a PPP agreement with the Ministry of Health of Uzbekistan.
The dialysis center in Tashkent will be equipped with 160 dialysis machines, making it one of the largest dialysis centers in the world, the report said.
“Dialysis enables people with chronic kidney disease to lead productive lives,” said Amanda Tan, Investment Specialist in ADB's Private Sector Department. “Demand for dialysis services in Uzbekistan has far exceeded supply, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, so this project will improve the availability and accessibility of much-needed dialysis services in the country. This project demonstrates the role that the private sector can play in closing critical gaps in healthcare delivery.”
According to ADB, 30,000 patients currently suffer from chronic kidney disease in Uzbekistan, while the country lacks more than 3,500 dialysis machines. The four new centers will provide quality dialysis care to at least 1,100 patients, including hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis services. The government will pay for these services.
ADB will also support NephroPlus in the development and implementation of a gender action plan to increase the participation of women in technical and skilled work in dialysis centers through special training, as well as strengthen efforts to ensure gender equality in their workplaces. NephroPlus is also committed to having women make up half of the staff trained in the use of dialysis machines and dialysis.
“We are pleased to introduce peritoneal dialysis for the first time in Uzbekistan to improve access to dialysis for patients in rural areas. We are delighted to be a private partner in the first international healthcare PPP in Uzbekistan and to enter into a relationship with an international financier like ADB as we continue to expand our operations,” said Vikram Wuppala, CEO of NephroPlus.
Nephrocare Health Services Central Asia is a subsidiary of India's Nephrocare Health Services, one of the largest dialysis service providers in Asia Pacific with over 300 centers. The company designs, builds and operates centers providing high quality and affordable dialysis services in India, Nepal, Uzbekistan and the Philippines.
The company won a tender for the construction, equipment, staff training and management of four dialysis clinics in Tashkent, Karakalpakstan and Khorezm region in 2020. Her first dialysis center was opened in Nukus in April this year. The opening of the clinic in Tashkent was expected before the end of 2022.