Private capacity, public payment

Private business participation in government initiatives to improve access to critical health services

Nirmala Ravishankar Ashleigh Dunworth Angellah Nakyanzi Barbara O'Hanlon Salome Wawire
2016 India Kenya Uganda Health & Social services Private sector collaboration Download as PDF (503.6 KB)
Published by
BEAM Exchange

While developing country governments have a range of mechanisms to engage the private sector to help reach men and women living in poverty, a market-based approach to health differs considerably from market-based approaches in other sectors. These differences include a heavy reliance on donor funds, fragmentation and diversity of private sector entities and extensive government regulation. Even when governments have policies to harness the private sector, many private health companies are struggling to participate in them. 

This research focuses on government schemes or policy tools used to pay private health care providers to deliver health services to men and women living in poverty. Through detailed case studies of these initiatives that draw from examples in Kenya, Uganda and India, the following topics are explored:

  • Barriers private health businesses face in learning about and participating in government schemes
  • Strategies that successful private businesses have employed to participate in government initiatives to deliver health services
  • Specific skills and capacities needed for private health businesses to qualify for these government programmes
  • The role governments can play to facilitate greater private sector participation in delivering pro-poor health services.

Based on the findings, the report offers recommendations to government, private providers, development partners, and market practitioners. The aim is to help private partnerships in low and middle income countries become more viable and reach scale, inform governments on strategies to make their policies targeting private health providers more effective, and guide market practitioners on the type of market interventions that make health services more accessible to men and women living in poverty. 

Research project: Private capacity, public payment