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About Us

Invest4Health Programme

Many complex health and social problems in African countries are severely under-resourced due to fiscal space constraints, inability to lever innovation and risk. Innovative financing mechanisms can help bridge these gaps through leveraging new funding sources, building partnerships and distributing risk. The aim of innovative financing is to find new and sustainable ways to fund impact projects and achieve desired outcomes.

Invest4health seeks to demonstrate successful models for mobilising innovative financing for high impact outcomes-based interventions.

Financing for outcomes-based contracts are typically from innovative financing sources rather than from traditional funding from government programme budgets and donor assistance.  Innovative financing refers to creative approaches for raising and mobilising funds to address health and social challenges, and include public-private partnerships, social impact bonds, earmarked taxes, levies, and other non-traditional financial mechanisms.

The  invest4health programme  is located  in the SA Medical Research Council’s Office of AIDS and TB.
The institutional arrangements for the invest4health programme are depicted in the figure below.


How invest4health works

The SAMRC together with its partners is building an African hub to grow outcomes-based financing and contracting (referred to as outcome-based approaches, OBA).

SAMRC is seeking to establish the hub as a Centre of Excellence that offers the following services:

  • Learning and action network: Facilitate learning including peer-to-peer learning and knowledge sharing. Provide an African-centric knowledge hub for OBAs, that comprises virtual and live learning events, publications, data sets, toolkits and guidelines. Provide a platform for professionals to exchange ideas, share best practices, and collaborate on research and projects.
  • Expertise: Provide access to in-house and network-based technical expertise on OBAs, including specific expertise in OBC design, partner mobilisation, finance modelling, implementation, quality assurance, and monitoring.
  • Research and innovation: Undertake SAMRC-led research and promote other relevant research and innovation contributing to the wider adoption of effective OBAs, including research on methodologies and evidence-based practices that shape the direction of OBAs.
  • Strategic Advisory Group: invest4health has established a group of experienced technicians and policy makers to guide the delivery of the invest4health mandate and plans.
  • Independent broker: Matchmaking for outcomes funders, investors, intermediaries and implementers.

Incubator: invest4health will test and pilot innovative OBAs in South Africa for potential scale up in South Africa and the continent and identify, design and test solutions for some of the most pressing health challenges. The SAMRC is harnessing its public health expertise and financial management capacity to play the critical intermediary role in partnerships with outcomes funders investors and service providers. 

There are 4 different service lines within the I4H programme. Implementation of these service lines are supported by the different partners:

OBA intermediary and brokerage services (MRC- supported)


Provide strategic support to external role players in design, resource mobilization, contracting and testing of OBA projects for health (not initiated by MRC). Facilitate partnership development.


Origination and fundraising
Research and design
Contracting and legal
Co-design process
Outcome verification

OBA project implementation (MRC-led)


Design or co-design and implement MRC-led OBA projects, such as the Imagine project.
Mobilise social investors and outcomes funders.
Potential to fulfill originator, project management, financing intermediary and project implementer/ manager roles.


Mobilise outcomes funding
Select service providers
Manage project implementation
Report results
Imagine pilot project

Research and evaluations (MRC-led)


MRC led research and evaluations for outcomes based approaches for public health challenges in Southern Africa.
Evaluate OBA projects for effectiveness, feasibility and scaling.
Generate evidence for OBAs.
Guidelines and use case development.


Research and generate evidence
Guidelines and template building
OBA project evaluations

Shared learning and networking (I4H LAN)


Advocacy for increased utilisation and market growth in OBAs.
Translate and package evidence for I4H, market players and network members.
Facilitate thought leadership in OBA for improved health outcomes in Africa.
OBA network facilitation.
Network member capacity strengthening & peer-to-peer learning.


Awareness raising and advocacy
Package evidence for I4H thought leadership
Wider network facilitation
Capacity strengthening and peer learning
Promote partnerships

Shared learning and network facilitation

The LAN service line will facilitate learning and connection between public/private sector and civil society for purpose of building I4H pipeline and facilitating opportunities in the wider market. We will organise webinars and workshops, in order to share knowledge and connect stakeholders within the field.