Assessment points to ways to strengthen the health system
A new multi-year SHOPS Plus program in Senegal will take its direction from a recently concluded assessment of the health sector. The assessment found that the health sector is growing. It consists of about 4,000 diverse for-profit and nonprofit organizations, including private clinics, medical offices, paramedical offices, and pharmacies.
Working closely with Senegalese stakeholders, the assessment team interviewed more than 100 individuals from nearly 80 public and private sector organizations, as well as donors and implementing partners. The assessment focused primarily on family planning service provision and also looked at maternal, neonatal and child health, HIV and AIDS, malaria, and nutrition service provision.
The assessment concluded with recommendations to strengthen the Senegalese health system. Below are some of the main suggestions by topic.
- Conduct a private sector census and develop an electronic database of private providers.
- Explore how to consolidate functions and streamline management of the private health sector.
- Use a total market approach with targeted demand creation activities that tie into a segmentation strategy.
- Address unemployment among midwives through better regulation of dual practice, increased access to finance, and incentives for establishing practices in underserved areas.
Increasing demand for priority health products and services
- Use existing research on social, cultural, and gender norms to develop more targeted communications about family planning, HIV, and other health areas.
Access to essential pharmaceutical and medical commodities
- Revise laws to allow for corporate ownership and ownership of multiple pharmacies by a single individual.
- Consider social franchising and social marketing initiatives.
- Focus Development Credit Authority technical assistance on consolidating the private health sector.
- Consider establishing innovation funds that target health enterprises.
Policy and corporate social responsibility
- Catalyze policy improvements for the private health sector and focus on public-private partnerships that fix a health system gap.
- Improve the functioning of the mHealth technical working group.
- Build on existing mHealth partnerships.
The recommended census of private health sector facilities is currently underway to identify their number, geographic distribution, and characteristics.