Minister Koenders congratulates Heineken with its role in the Health Insurance Fund
Heineken Breweries has been actively pursuing a policy to fight HIV/AIDS in Africa and to contribute to improving access to health services for multiple years. The driving force behind this policy was Mr. Henk Rijkborst, Director Health Affairs van Heineken International. Mr. Rijckborst recently retired. On the occasion of his retirement, Minister Koenders (Dutch Ministry of development cooperation) held a speech about public private partnerships.
“There is growing awareness of the private sector’s responsibility to act in resource-poor settings - for instance, in environments where medical services are not available and governments fail to deliver good quality services. Heineken has set an example and a standard in the field of corporate social responsibility,” According to Minister Koenders.
Mr. Rijckborst played an important role in the development of partnerships between Heineken, local governments and NGOs. Among these partnerships is the Health Insurance Fund. Heineken stood at the cradle of the Health Insurance Fund.
Minister Koenders: “In a sense, the Health Insurance Fund emerged from the Public-Private Partnership Forum, an informal group where Heineken, Shell, Unilever, Celtel, PharmAccess Foundation and my own ministry worked together on AIDS-related issues. (...) As we worked together, we felt the need for a more structured programme to support health systems in the countries concerned. The idea emerged of strengthening and developing insurance mechanisms. We could not have developed the Health Insurance Fund without the expertise and experience of PharmAccess and the private sector; nor could it have taken off without the government’s contribution. Interestingly, Heineken is now implementing an insurance scheme based on the Health Insurance Fund approach for its franchise holders in Rwanda, with the support of PharmAccess.”
“This is the kind of cooperation we envisaged in September 2005, when Heineken, Unilever, Shell and TNT had discussions with Prime Minister Balkenende to prepare for the UN summit on the Millennium Development Goals. I would like to compliment Heineken on its supportive role in the Health Insurance Fund.”
Read the full text of the speech here.