“Let’s work together for better health for all” was the theme of the first Private Health Sector Trade Fair at the Hotel Carlton on August 2-3, 2019 in Antananarivo, Madagascar. The SHOPS Plus project, through USAID support, organized the trade fair to showcase the potential of the private health sector and encourage stronger public-private dialogue in the country.
In his rousing opening speech for the event, the Secretary General of the Ministry of Health Dr. Jean Claude Andrianirinarison said, “Let this trade fair be an opportunity for us all to develop constructive, effective relationships to improve the health results for the Madagascar population.” Mike Stern, acting mission director, USAID/Madagascar, echoed this sentiment in his speech by encouraging the audience to take advantage of the event to meet new private sector actors, learn new health competencies, and more importantly, find new ways to contribute to strengthening the private health sector and health outcomes.
More than 630 participants attended the event, including 40 exhibitors representing a wide range of private health sector stakeholders, including service delivery providers, product vendors, banks, mutuelles, health enterprises, and implementing partners. The trade fair also included panel discussions, conference presentations, and trainings. As part of the trade fair, SHOPS Plus set aside a space for healthcare providers to have private conversations about financing opportunities with USAID’s partner banks, who identified 92 new loan opportunities.
SHOPS Plus led panel discussions focused on the main components of the project’s activities in Madagascar: public private engagement, health entrepreneurship, health financing and access to credit. The conference included presentations from UNICEF, the Ministry of Health, and other organizations. Free trainings on maternal and child health, family planning, and management of private medical facilities allowed private providers to refresh their skills during the trade fair. National-level meetings also took place during the event for organizations that receive SHOPS Plus support, including the Association of Private Hospitals, Federation of Mutuelles, and the nascent Private Sector Alliance.
Given the success of the first trade fair, participants, organizers, and partners all agreed that it should become an annual event. The organizers anticipate that a second event would attract more people, create more partnership and networking opportunities, offer more training sessions, and continue to promote the importance of public-private engagement in the collective goal of increasing access to quality health care in Madagascar.