Public-private partnerships can help improve healthcare in Africa

Friday, April 11, 2014

It is shocking, but perhaps not surprising, to read of the impact of the public-private partnership between the Lesotho government and Netcare on healthcare across Lesotho (Finance deal threatens Lesotho’s hospitals, says Oxfam, 7 April). However, public-private partnership can work in an African healthcare setting, and this has been demonstrated over the last six years by the success of the Health Improvement Project Zanzibar (HIPZ) in transforming services on the island.

Since 2006, an innovative model of collaboration between HIPZ and the Zanzibar government has seen a huge improvement in care at Makunduchi and Kivunge hospitals. This partnership improves healthcare provision without commercial gain for individuals or corporations, or the accruement of debt, with an ultimate aim of long-term sustainability.

The success of this model has required a number of crucial factors: a commitment to fully understand local needs, an open-minded and pragmatic approach by the HIPZ team (recognising the importance of listening to local staff), consistent investment in local staff, and transparent monitoring of outcomes, but with the acceptance that improvement is slow and often difficult to demonstrate in the short term. This largely unknown model of collaboration demonstrates a stark contrast to that seen in Lesotho.

Source: The Guardian (link opens in a new window)

Health Care
public-private partnerships