Public Financing Partnerships Offer Lessons to Improve Private Sector Healthcare

A new report offers insights into a model for improving the integration and performance of private healthcare providers in low- and middle-income countries.

Public financing partnerships to improve private sector health care, a new report from the Evidence to Policy Initiative (E2Pi) at the UCSF Institute for Global Health Sciences, examines how private intermediaries that create private-provider networks establish partnerships with governments to improve access, quality, and affordability of health services.

“Private providers play a central role in the health systems of many low-and middle-income countries, but they are often under-regulated and poorly integrated into the public health system, leading to concerns about the fragmentation, quality and affordability of private health services,” said Naomi Beyeler, E2Pi co-director and an author of the report.  “The intermediary model shows promise for improving the integration and performance of private providers.”

Through six case studies of successful intermediary programs in Latin America, Asia and Africa, the report identifies key success factors, challenges and opportunities in developing government partnerships and highlights lessons learned.

The authors find that it’s important for intermediaries to have shared goals and a mission aligned with the public sector. These public-private partnerships are strengthened by consistent communication, clear contractual agreements, and formal accountability mechanisms. Intermediaries also benefit from working with government partners at both the national and sub-national levels, actively engaging in policymaking, and integrating their information and platforms into public systems.

Policymakers and health agency implementers, intermediaries and other private sector organizations can use the report, developed with support from the Center for Health Market Innovations and available for download here, to guide the development and implementation of innovative models for building mixed health systems that leverage the strengths of both public and private sectors.