New e-course helps private providers understand benefits of joining an organizing effort

In a new e-course housed on the Global Health e-Learning Center, SHOPS Plus provides learners with an appreciation of how greater organization could benefit private health care providers, their health businesses and public health programs. 

“Many low- and middle-income countries have a large and growing number of private providers. But, they largely continue to operate on a small scale, independent basis,“ explains Sean Callahan, private sector specialist on SHOPS Plus and author of the online course Organizing Private Health Care Providers. 

A photo of a group of doctors in Kenya.
Bringing private providers, such as those pictured here, together in organized groups is an essential step for countries to meet public health goals | Photo: Jessica Scranton

When private providers are fragmented, it is difficult to promote quality improvement or train providers on new best practices on a large scale, implement supportive supervision programs, collect up-to-date data for health management information systems, and solicit private sector inputs into policy and regulatory processes. Bringing private providers together in organized groups is an essential step to help countries meet public health goals.

“Unfortunately, [private providers] often don’t know how, when, or where to organize. This course is designed to help them understand why they would want to organize—such as to strengthen their voice in policy dialogue, improve the quality of their services, or access new revenue opportunities—how they can go about identifying opportunities to do so, and what they can do to support greater organization,” notes Callahan.

The course features case studies of successful organizing efforts to illustrate factors that have historically motivated An infographic of common forms of organization: professional associations, federations, cooperative businesses, and provider networks.private providers to organize, strategies they have employed, challenges they have encountered, and results that they have achieved. It also explains how organizing for different purposes—advocacy, service delivery, or accessing revenue—will shape the types of strategies used to strengthen and sustain an attempt to organize private providers.

The two-hour, self-paced course comprises five sessions. It is mainly intended for private health care providers but donors and implementing partners can also use the course as a guide to support their efforts to integrate the private sector into the health system, or as an advocacy tool. Government stakeholders can also use the course to learn how to promote opportunities to facilitate organization and engagement with the private health sector.

Click here to start the e-course.

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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.