Is private health care the answer to the health problems of the world's poor?
Author(s)/Editor(s): Hanson K,Gilson L, Goodman C et al.
Journal: PLoS Medicine
Publication date: November 2008; 5(11)
Number of pages: 5
“….The global burden of disease falls disproportionately upon the world's low-income countries, which are often struggling with weak health systems. Both the public and private sector deliver health care in these countries, but the appropriate role for each of these sectors in health system strengthening remains controversial. This debate examines whether the private sector should step up its involvement in the health systems of low-income countries…”
“…..Policy makers and thought leaders in low- and middle-income countries, confronted with continuing failures in the public sector, growing evidence of the effectiveness of the private sector, and energetic non-state organisations, are already working to harness the power of the private sector to achieve better health care for all. Evaluation will be crucial, but the most important research question is not “Can the private sector help?” but “How can public–private partnerships be made most effective and equitable?”
"As Hanson and colleagues rightly urge, we must innovate and learn by doing. In well-structured public–private partnerships, the private partners are fully accountable for the delivery of specified services and outcomes, and arrangements for financial rewards and penalties require that there is rigorous measurement of process and outcomes. None of this is true in a public system. A poor woman with an obstetric emergency in a rural area of a low-income country is likely to die. Her death and its cause go unrecorded. No inquiry is made about this preventable loss of life. No one is held accountable. No question is asked in parliament. Her death is a silent tragedy. The private sector can help us do better…..”