Over the past few decades the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region has made significant, but uneven, strides to improve health outcomes. This has resulted in increased life expectancy, increased health coverage, and led to a decline in infant mortality.
Current challenges to health in the region include rising incidence of non-communicable diseases, the effects of ongoing humanitarian, political, or economic crises, and more recently, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Overcoming these obstacles requires strategically leveraging the potential of the private health sector, which largely remains an unknown and an untapped resource in the region.
SHOPS Plus seeks to advance knowledge and understanding of the health landscape in the region, and identify opportunities, and constraints, for greater private sector engagement in addressing health needs. The project also seeks to disseminate knowledge of health and the private sector to stimulate learning and collaboration among MENA health partners.
In 2018, SHOPS Plus conducted an extensive review of health financing and private health sector trends with a particular focus on refugee populations. In 2020, the project complemented this work with an assessment of digital financial services and their role in supporting the region’s health objectives.