Sound political stewardship leads to the efficient use of resources, improved quality of services, and the effective engagement of all actors in the health system. Many countries struggle to steward the private health sector because it is fragmented and not well integrated into the health system. In many cases, the private health sector is excluded from government strategies and policies, and the absence of the clear articulation of its role makes public-private engagement challenging. Unintentionally, the policy environment can create barriers that prevent the private sector from providing quality health services, products, and information.
To strengthen governments’ ability to steward the private sector, SHOPS Plus uses a multi-pronged approach:
- Conducting assessments to establish a solid base of knowledge and identify policy barriers and needed incentives to create a market for the private health sector.
- Facilitating the development of private sector organizations, including federations and associations to unify the private sector and provide a platform for dialogue with the public sector.
- Facilitating a dialogue process that brings all stakeholders together to overcome mistrust, agree on policy agendas, and identify specific partnership opportunities.
- Building the capacity of ministries of health in public-private partnership frameworks and mechanisms such as contracting.
- Advocating for policy reforms to increase the active participation of the private health sector.
- Strengthening the capacity of regulatory boards to promote and enforce licensing and accreditation of quality standards in service delivery.
Examples of our work
SHOPS Plus conducted a 32-country scan to document the legislation, policies, and regulations that currently affect the types of family planning methods pharmacies and drug shops can provide and how they provide them. Family planning stakeholders—including donors, governments, and implementing partners—can use this information to contextualize barriers and enablers for policy reforms.
In Senegal, SHOPS Plus helps increase public sector stewardship by training and developing tools for Ministry of Health staff on public-private partnerships and supporting legal and regulatory measures to improve private sector adherence to policies and regulations. SHOPS Plus recently finalized a private sector mapping report that will help the government of Senegal to identify challenges in private sector service delivery, staffing, and financing. SHOPS Plus also provides technical assistance and support to expand organizations with private sector membership at the national and regional levels, including the Private Sector Alliance and the nurse and midwife professional councils.