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To engage the private sector in health, we must align goals and share risks

Engaging the private sector in delivering health care and goods requires a sound understanding of how to align resources with the strategic priorities of a health system. The WHO Regional Office for Europe and the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies have released a new report for policy-makers that analyses governance evidence from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“The question is not whether we should do it, but what we can do to do it well,” explained Dimitra Panteli, programme manager at the Observatory, who presented the policy brief during a WHO-hosted launch session at the European Public Health (EPH) Conference in Dublin.

Having played a key part in the COVID-19 pandemic, the private sector showed that it holds resources and expertise that can enhance the delivery of health goods and services and help achieve Universal Health Coverage. It also has a wider role in the maintenance of essential health services and in ensuring health system resilience. 

“We cannot have the illusion that we should not work with the private sector, especially as health services struggle to cope with backlogs caused by the pandemic,” pointed out Natasha Azzopardi Muscat, Director of Country Health Policies and Systems at WHO/Europe. 

This collaboration can however present challenges, for example around governance practices. Policy successes and failures during the pandemic provide lessons for countries on how to engage the private sector in their health systems effectively.

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Source: European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies, 20 November 2023


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