New assessment leads to increased public-private engagement in DRC

Bettina Bruner shaking hands with the DRC Minister of Health
SHOPS Plus Francophone Regional Manager, Bettina Brunner, shaking hands with the Minister of Health, Oly Ilunga Kalenga. | Credit: Henri Alimasi, DRC Ministry of Health 

A private health sector assessment is changing the way the government in the Democratic Republic of Congo engages with private providers. 

The World Bank, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and USAID, through SHOPS Plus, funded the assessment to better understand the numerous constraints the private health sector faces related to the availability of commodities, shortages of adequately trained staff, and affordability of private health care. The assessment, which used the World Health Organization’s health system pillars as a framework, looked at eight focus regions, reflecting the geographic diversity of the private health sector. Conducted in the early part of 2018, it identified key challenges and opportunities that will help develop a foundation for public-private engagement and strengthen private health sector activities in the country.  As described in the assessment, the country's private health sector is included in strategies and policies, and the government clearly supports this inclusion.

Bettina Burner and World Bank Rep standing next to banner at the event.
Kara Adamon, World Bank Group Private Sector Specialist, and Brunner standing next to a banner at the event. | Credit: SHOPS Plus

SHOPS Plus disseminated the results of the assessment in September 2018 at a ceremony in Kinshasa led by the Minister of Health and the Deputy Prime Minister for Transport and Communications. Both shared their appreciation of the assessment. 

 “The private health sector is an important actor in the DRC's health system, but the extent of its contribution remains largely unknown,” said Oly Ilunga Kalenga, DRC Minister of Health. “Efforts at the central level to improve this cooperation are ongoing since the government is trying to decentralize the health system at the provincial and local levels."

The minister and his staff were closely involved in the assessment, which found that the country’s private sector is an important source of care across all wealth quintiles. At the dissemination event in September, Kalenga talked about how the health needs of the population cannot be met by relying solely on the public health sector and that new partnerships should be created to ensure that all players in the health sector come together. 

Selife with SHOPS Plus's Bettina Brunner with representatives from World Bank at the DRC PSA dissemination event in September 2018. |
Brunner, Adamon, and Jean-Julien Illunga, Private Sector Advisor to the DRC Minister of Health, at the dissemination event. | Credit: SHOPS Plus

Deputy Prime Minister José Makila Sumanda attended the event on behalf of the Prime Minister, and talked about how the government plans to invest alongside Congolese private health sector partners to make universal health coverage a reality for the country. 

“The main benefit of the new health partnership proposed by the Minister of Health today is to define the framework in which we all work together to achieve our common goal of providing health coverage to our population,” Sumanda said.

Stay tuned for the full report.

Learn more about our work in public-private engagement. 

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Sustaining Health Outcomes through the Private Sector (SHOPS) Plus is a five-year cooperative agreement (AID-OAA-A-15-00067) funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). This website is made possible by the generous support of the American people through USAID. The information provided on this website is not official U.S. government information and does not represent the views or positions of USAID or the U.S. government.