Limited resources in the public sector often translate into limited health service delivery for the people who need it most. Expanding the private sector’s participation is a solution to increasing availability of affordable, high-quality health-care choices for individuals, families, and communities. By promoting high-quality, affordable private-sector solutions, Chemonics not only widens the arena of health-care provision but also ensures that the services provided are meeting human needs in the most responsive ways. In the long run, these solutions can also provide incentives for further private-sector investment and involvement.
Engaging private-sector providers. Whether they take the form of professional associations, clinical franchises, or informal networks, private health care providers can offer a consistent set of services to previously underserved populations. In the Philippines, Chemonics has trained private sector midwives in the provision of family planning services and commodities, as well as in business management, to ensure the sustainability of their practices, and increasing their market share. In Bangladesh, Chemonics created a health franchise built around an NGO network, Smiling Sun, which will allow for the sharing of costs associated with marketing among all the clinics and provide a system to cross-subsidize services for the poor and rural communities. In Angola, through the Essential Health Services Program’s community mobilization team, Chemonics worked closely with the Ministry of Public Administration, Employment and Social Security to increase access to and demand for high-quality health services.
Supporting manufacturing and distribution. Involving the private sector in the manufacture and distribution of health products can increase access to high-quality and affordable commodities. In the Philippines, Chemonics has worked directly with multinational and local drug manufacturers, as well as pharmacy associations, to offer a range of affordable brands of oral and injectable contraceptives to rural and urban poor markets. Strategies for creating new markets at the bottom of the economic pyramid have demonstrated to the private sector that there is profitability in low-priced products.
Building public-private partnerships. Far from working in isolation from the public sector, private-sector involvement encourages a synergy that results in better overall health-care provision. In South Africa, the Chemonics team designed an organizational plan for the National Treasury’s new Public-Private Partnership Unit that included the privatization of hospitals. In Vietnam, Chemonics works with the Vietnam Chambers of Commerce to assist enterprises develop policies, services, and systems for integrating people living with HIV and high-risk individuals into their workplaces.
Raising awareness. Through social marketing, the private sector can increase the availability and use of health products such as contraceptives or insecticide-treated nets, resulting in widespread behavior change and healthier individuals and societies. In Angola, Chemonics worked to increase workplace-based outreach and health promotion. In Vietnam, we seek enterprise funding for training, peer education, condom distribution, and other activities to prevent infection and reduce risk of HIV infection. One of the first enterprises to participate was the Heineken Company — which trained its promotional staff, mainly young girls, on avoiding risky behaviors.