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Engage private sector in health, experts urge gov't

By Gloria Nakajubi

Added 8th June 2016 03:43 PM

The public-private partnership policy needs to be integrated in the national healthcare systems

The public-private partnership policy needs to be integrated in the national healthcare systems

With more people accessing health services from the private sector, the role of the sector cannot be underestimated in the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals on health by 2030.

 The private sector, according to the World Bank is making a growing contribution to health care in most of the developing world. This as seen in an analysis of data from 26 African countries showing that nearly half of the sick children from the poorest countries were found to have made use of private health providers.

Speaking at the just concluded 5th East African Health Federation (EAHF) Conference at the Sheraton Hotel in Kampala, Dr. Amit Shakker, the chairperson of Kenya HealthCare Federation, said public-private partnerships are pivotal in streamlining access to better quality health care services.

Shakker said the absence of health insurance, however, makes it quite expensive for the people to seek care from private health facilities. This is basically because they have to pay the providers using cash.

SDG 3 highlights the need to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages. This stipulates specific targets for infant and maternal health and HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases.

The public-private partnership policy that has been adopted by most of the regional states, according to Dr. Sam Orach, the Executive Secretary of Uganda Catholic Medical Bureau, needs to be integrated in the national healthcare systems.

"Partnering with the private sector should not be done on the basis that they (private) are needy, but rather for strategic reasons as regards to quality health care," said Orach.

Kampala Capital City Authority deputy director for public health, Dr. Daniel Okello says there is need for partnerships.

"Before we build a 300-bed facility, we need to understand where and why we are building it in a certain place, but also the possibility of partnering with private sector facilities in that area," said.

Headed by Uganda's Dr. Ian Clarke, the EAHF is made up of Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi.

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