In January 2020, members of the SHOPS Plus team went to Bangkok, Thailand for the Prince Mahidol Award Conference (PMAC), an annual international conference that focuses on global health policy and health systems. SHOPS Plus presenters discussed how the private sector can contribute to the conference’s theme, “Accelerating Progress Toward Universal Health Coverage,” in three side meetings and a poster presentation.
Evaluating the potential of private sector funds for private sector health
SHOPS Plus and USAID co-hosted a side meeting entitled “Private sector funds for private sector health: A feasible strategy to increase access to health care?” The session provided an interactive forum for participants to learn about innovative financing by and for the private sector, and expand their understanding of current and potential sources, enablers, and inhibitors of private sector investment in private sector health. The session was moderated by Caroline Quijada, deputy director of SHOPS Plus, and featured Jeanna Holtz, health financing director, as a speaker.
USAID, project implementers, and private investors shared insights on the role each could play in catalyzing private sector funds for private sector health. Participants then applied health financing concepts first-hand by analyzing case studies in small groups and taking a quiz to test their understanding of private domestic resource mobilization.
Highlighting the role of the private sector in service delivery and health policy
SHOPS Plus staff also presented at a side meeting co-hosted by USAID and PSI entitled “Working with the Private Sector to Improve Service Delivery” that showcased the many ways the private sector can be an effective partner in achieving the goals of sustainable development and universal health coverage. The session included deputy director Caroline Quijada and Dr. Isseu Toure, SHOPS Plus chief of party. Dr. Isseu Toure was also a presenter at a session co-hosted by USAID and the Health Policy Plus project on harnessing the private sector for universal health coverage through smart policy.
The three side sessions were useful in increasing knowledge of participants on the important role of the private sector in financing, service delivery, and health policy at a conference that primarily focuses on the public sector.
Identifying next steps to promote private sector engagement
According to Holtz, there is growing consensus that universal health coverage—with equity, quality, and financial protection—takes root by tapping assets of the total health system, including the public and private sectors. Effective private sector engagement can support countries on their journey to self-reliance. How to achieve this, particularly for private domestic resource mobilization, remains a subject for further learning, but one that holds promise.
To learn more, check out the new SHOPS Plus brief on private sector domestic resource mobilization.