The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is marked by solidarity, participation and universality, with a fundamental shift expected in the development finance architecture. Improving the effectiveness, quality and impact of development co-operation in this context will require inclusive partnerships, innovative approaches and the application of lessons at country level. In a shifting landscape, it is increasingly critical to break down the silos that have traditionally governed development financing and implementation. This will require a set of shared principles that encourage and facilitate meaningful and impactful partnerships at all levels across sectors. Over the last decade, there has been an increased consensus about the instrumental role which the private sector can and should play in meeting the need for increased access to affordable quality healthcare across Africa. In partnership with the public sector, the private sector can contribute towards accelerating attainment of SDG3; Ensuring healthy lives and promoting the well-being for all at all ages But what is needed to make this happen? What should and can be the role of the private sector in this process?
The private health sector plays a key role in the African healthcare provision as in several countries more than 50% of the health services are delivered by the private sector. The private sector consists of care providers commercial/ private hospitals, non-profit organizations, social enterprises, Faith Based Organizations (FBOs) and an informal health sector of traditional healers, midwives and individual medicine sellers who are essential in providing care as well as the payors in the form of health insurance companies plus the supply chain companies that are integral to maintain the care continuum. Together they cover all the elements along the health value chain; healthcare provision, manufacturing, financing, distribution and retail. The private sector fills a large gap in the healthcare delivery, thereby catering for a large proportion of medical needs not only for the urban upper class who are seeking higher quality services, but also for the rural populations that are unable to access government facilities. It is critical, now more than ever, for the public sector to harness on the entrepreneurial talents of the private sector to improve access to healthcare and long-term, sustainable increases in funding and health infrastructure. In turn, collaborating with the public sector can help the private sector in capitalizing on funds and obtaining support from local finance institutions.
Innovation and partnerships are two of the defining elements of EWEC. Innovation is mainstreamed through the actions taken by the myriad of partners who commit to implementing business unusual approaches to save and improve the lives of women, children and adolescents. The private sector, the second largest group of commitment makers to EWEC after governments, plays an important role in innovating technologies, products and partnerships that generate new investment opportunities that reach underserved populations. The Innovation Marketplace, formed in 2015, is a strategic alliance of development innovation organizations which aims to facilitate investment in 20 of the most promising RMNCAH innovations by 2020, with at least 10 of these innovations widely available and having a significant impact on women’s, children’s and adolescents’ health by 2030.
The private sector can play an important role in increasing access to quality healthcare in Africa. In fact, over 50% of healthcare services in the region is provided by private healthcare providers, mostly small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) managed by medical professionals. While the need for investing in the private health sector is broadly recognized, the SMEs in this sector have limited access to capital to invest in their businesses. Banks shy away from loans to hospitals and clinics, as they find it difficult to assess the risks involved. As a result, healthcare providers cannot invest in improving their quality or increasing their business. The panelists will discuss initiatives that enable banks, social enterprises and donors to work together in enhancing access to capital for healthcare providers. The session will cover the following areas: Challenges faced by health SMEs in accessing financing The role of partnerships to increase access to capital for health SMEs How can quality standards reduce investment risk The business case for investing in quality
African Healthcare sector is plagued by extreme shortage of skilled manpower across the continent. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the health personnel to population ratio in Africa has been astoundingly low throughout the years. The health workforce is at the core of all health systems as they facilitate the implementation of healthcare services. The inadequacy in the number of quality trained health workers has led to serious impediments in healthcare delivery and outcomes on the continent. There is a crying need to resolve this crisis through various innovations and resource sharing policies within the continent to enable the other building blocks in the healthcare ecosystem to deliver their goals and to ultimately realise the dream of achieving SDGs in a defined time frame.
As reforms continue to force healthcare organizations and business to find new ways to curb costs and increase effectiveness, many forget about the process and supplies needed to keep the business moving. Increasing the understanding of managing the supply and demand side in the medical supply chain will increase cost and time efficiency, thereby enabling cost effective delivery of patient care. The supply chain involving medications and essential supplies to healthcare providers can be very complex owing to challenges of availability, lead times , storage criteria and emergency procurement needs. Ongoing macroeconomic and regulatory events are constantly changing the shape of the competitive and operational environment in which supply chain managers make their strategic and tactical decisions. Optimisation of supply chain can be one of the most significant items to reduce waste and overall costs of healthcare delivery to the end user.
Developments in healthcare have enabled the successful treatment and management of many diseases that were often fatal just a generation ago. Nevertheless, African healthcare systems still far short of its potential and faces costs that are not sustainable due to the high expenses. Technological innovations, both small and large, could ensure that healthcare delivery becomes faster, smarter and more affordable and thereby more satisfying to the patients. The health industry opening doors to embrace technological healthcare innovations, but this process should be fast-tracked to leverage on the current trends and developments in the technology space that can improve health outcomes on the continent. Digital technologies have the potential to revolutionalise delivery of acute care, management of chronic care and impact community and population health for communicable and non communicable disease burden of the country at a much reduced cost.
Fostering a debate between public and private sectors, as well as civil society, on the appropriate roles of public-private partnerships in healthcare in Africa. We will explore this question from the perspective of the public interest – or health as a public good. From that starting point panel members will discuss the challenges and opportunities which African healthcare PPPs represent for universal access to healthcare and health as a public good. Some of the questions that the panel will explore include: What factors have made African healthcare PPPs successful or otherwise? How should governments, private sector and civil society interact most effectively to ensure PPPs advance the public interest? What does effective governance of PPPs in the public interest look like?
Public private partnerships have been executed by many sectors across the globe, including the healthcare sector. With each successive implementation, it is evident that enormous challenges still remain. Although it is widely understood that strategic partnerships between public and private health providers is the only logical way to meet the challenges faced by the healthcare industry, there is a reluctance in the undertaking of such initiatives due to the fear of failure. The few models of PPPs that have been successful have been isolated islands of success, and not easily replicable. For a PPP model to be effective, it would require creation of a level playing field for all stakeholders with a common objective to succeed and a clear delineation of roles and responsibilities of each stakeholder with a concrete definition of deliverables. This needs consistent monitoring and course correction in keeping with the final objectives. There are usually there are some technical and political hurdles in PPPs exist and to ensure that stakeholders and non-stakeholders can collaborate and partner effectively in this milieu, it is necessary to have a policy framework and a collective will that will utilize the synergies of all state and non state partners and lay down a vision for the future so as to efficiently meet the objectives of the partnership.