SHOPS Plus shared research and findings at the Fifth Global Symposium on Health Systems Research to help bring the important role of the private sector and the private health workforce to the forefront of the discussions at the event. The team engaged in several panel discussions and presentations, including the co-sponsorship of a private sector health day, which reiterated the important role of the private sector and providers in the provision of quality health services, products, and information.
During the plenary session, Catherine Goodman, a professor at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and keynote speaker, presented on the private sector’s role in global health and the need to examine the diversity within the private health workforce. In her presentation, she used numerous infographics and findings from a SHOPS Plus analysis of Demographic and Health Survey data to demonstrate the significant contribution of private providers to health care globally.
“This conference is the first HSR to really make the private sector so prominent,” she remarked at the end of her presentation.
To elevate the work and the contribution of the private sector, SHOPS Plus co-sponsored a private sector health day with the African Health Markets for Equity project, which consisted of a full-day satellite session with nine panels. SHOPS Plus health financing director, Jeanna Holtz, and her colleagues engaged in a panel discussion on leveraging direct and indirect benefits of strategic purchasing to improve quality and private provider engagement.
The team also hosted a satellite session before the conference that focused on human resources for health in HIV that featured two CEOs of organizations in South Africa and India on the panel. Diana Frymus, Health Workforce Branch Chief at USAID’s Office of HIV/AIDS, served as the moderator. During the discussion, the team showed animated videos on how the private sector can contribute to improving results along the HIV service delivery cascade.
In addition to a poster presentation and a flash presentation at the conference, SHOPS Plus also co-sponsored an evening satellite session on “Sustaining HIV service delivery through health insurance” with USAID, PEPFAR, and Health Policy Plus. SHOPS Plus deputy director, Caroline Quijada, was part of the panel and discussed lessons on engaging the private sector in delivering HIV services under national health insurance programs.
“The budget required for absorbing all HIV care is so large that we must look at opportunities to utilize the private sector so that we can better target our funds to those that truly need it,” Quijada explained during the session.
The private sector is a key partner in the effort to achieve universal health coverage, and private providers are essential in ensuring equitable access to quality health products and services, especially in low- and middle-income countries. By focusing on public-private engagement and understanding the diversity that exists within the private sector, we can leverage this partnership to build the capacity and improve the quality of health systems around the world.