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We are working with Cameroonian and Canadian partners to scale Kangaroo Mother Care for premature and low birth weight infants in Cameroon using a Development Impact Bond.


Social Finance, the MaRS Centre for Impact Investing,  Grand Challenges Canada,  Nutrition International and the Global Financing Facility have been working with Cameroon’s Ministry of Public Health and the Kangaroo Foundations in Cameroon and Colombia to tackle neonatal health outcomes in Cameroon.

The project aims to use the world’s first health and nutrition Development Impact Bond (DIB) to implement Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC), a cost-effective practice known to save and improve the lives of low birth weight and pre-term infants, in 10 hospitals in Cameroon.

Why we are doing this: 
  • 23,000 neonatal deaths each year in Cameroon
  • Almost 1 out of 2 low-birth-weight and preterm infant dies after birth in Cameroon
  • A Cochrane review of 21 studies including 3,042 infants has found that, at discharge or at 40 to 41-week gestational age, KMC was associated with a statistically significant reduction in neonatal mortality rate 
What we are doing: 

Social Finance, in collaboration with MaRS Centre for Impact Investing designed this a DIB to scale Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC) in Cameroon. KMC is a cost-effective, evidence-based health practice for saving and caring for infants by administering continuous skin-to-skin contact, breastfeeding, and early discharge from hospital with follow up. Access to quality KMC in Cameroon remains low as KMC requires specific equipment and infrastructure, which are often not available in health facilities, and staff need to receive specialized training.

The aim of the DIB is to achieve significant and verifiable improvements in key health outcomes for low birth weight and preterm infants in Cameroon, by implementing high quality KMC through an innovative train-the-trainer model in target facilities. A DIB represents a unique structure that enables a route to scale and sustainability for KMC in Cameroon by providing upfront capital for the service rollout and rigorous, data-driven performance management focused on achieving outcomes. The long-term goal is to integrate KMC into Cameroon’s public healthcare system, and ensure the intervention’s sustainability and expansion to other hospitals nationwide.

The DIB was launched in February 2019 and Social Finance now provides Performance Management Advisory support to the investor, Grand Challenges Canada. As such, we work closely with the delivery partner – the Kangaroo Foundation Cameroon – to implement adaptive management. Read the full press release here. 

Project partners: 
Cameroon’s Ministry of Public Health
Global Financing Facility
Grand Challenges Canada
Kangaroo Foundation Cameroon
Kangaroo Foundation Colombia
MaRS Centre for Impact Investing
Nutrition International