It’s an established fact that health is an important aspect of a society. Africa has continuously been working towards improving its healthcare services however, a large void still exists in the health care ecosystem of the continent and it continues to grow every year. While country governments face shortage of funds and technical expertise, private players can play substantial role in filling the void and strengthening the healthcare setup of Africa.
Country governments of the African region need to work more purposefully and strategically to integrate private players into their plans to reduce mortality and otherwise improve health of the continent. This can be done in the following ways.
Encouraging innovative financing solutions: Funding tools that are more common in the investment world can aid in engaging more resources, mainly private capital for social impact. Increased finances can also be obtained when private investors and global corporations combine with aid agencies, NGOs and foundations to increase funding for life-saving programs. On the other hand, the policy makers of the African region must frame policies that encourage direct investments in African countries. Various factors which impede investments like corruption, red tapism etc. must be eradicated. Banks and other financial institutions must be encouraged to offer monetary assistance with flexible payment options to healthcare set-ups so that they may expand and widen their reach across the continent.
Encouraging regional private health providers to nourish health systems: The regional private sector is an important contributor to health in low income countries. These local healthcare setups are often overlooked from public insurance schemes and nationwide quality improvement programs. This can be a matter of concern given the fact that majority of people prefer private clinics over public hospitals due to various personal reasons like closeness to their residences, flexible hours, special needs etc. African nations must look out for ways to increase the reach and potential of the private healthcare providers. Additionally, private healthcare setups must be included in the national quality improvement programs so as to ensure that quality services are offered across the entire health system.
Extracting private sector expertise: Apart from money, private sector has many other offerings like product development, supply chain, data analytics market insights and so on. These capabilities, if tapped from the private players, will help in faster development of the health infrastructure with greater impact. Additionally, the experience and the expertise of the private healthcare providers shall help in predicting disease trends, market analysis and other important determinants needed to expand the reach of quality healthcare.
Governments can take complete advantage of the private sector’s vast strengths and inputs to improve the African healthcare. Private players have enormous potential for African healthcare which needs to be tapped to its full extent. African leadership has already recognized the benefits of engaging private sector with public welfare schemes and has even tapped a lot of benefits however, a lot more can be done.