In Madagascar, use of public health services is low, particularly among poor women and their families. The public health sector has struggled to serve the health needs of all citizens due to budget constraints and ongoing economic and health crises. Households, including the poor, increasingly rely on the private health sector to meet their health needs, particularly for family planning and child health products and services. SHOPS Plus is working to tap the potential of the private sector to address these needs.
The private health sector is an important source of health services in Madagascar. The SHOPS Plus 2017 private sector assessment found that private providers account for one third of total service provision in the country. A SHOPS Plus DHS analysis found that 32% of caregivers who seek sick child care outside the home-and more than one quarter of the poorest of caregivers-go to the private sector.
To strengthen the private sector’s ability to respond to critical health needs, SHOPS Plus trains private providers in family planning, WASH, and child health. The trainings aim to improve clinical knowledge and practices among private providers based on the latest healthcare protocols. In addition, SHOPS Plus trains and coaches private providers in business and financial management, and supports increased lending to providers to expand and improve their service offerings.
SHOPS Plus also seeks to improve the enabling environment for private sector service provision by strengthening dialogue between the public and the private sectors, supporting private providers to better organize, encouraging entrepreneurs to develop innovative health solutions, and carrying out research to better understand the private health sector in Madagascar.
During the first two years of the project, SHOPS Plus implemented social and behavior change campaigns and distributed key health commodities.