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A Free Private Health Policy Toolkit for Africa

“Private Health Policy Toolkit for Africa” gathers resources and tools about engaging the private health sector that were previously unavailable in one location. It outlines opportunities for developing, engaging, and supporting a well-managed and effectively regulated private sector to improve the region’s health. The toolkit provides a wealth of information on why the private sector is important to policymakers and on the key components of
stewardship. Toolkit users can learn about the policy cycle and take a deep dive into engagement tools from accreditation to vouchers.

There is growing recognition that the private health sector is a significant source of health care in most African countries. According to “Healthy Partnerships: How Governments Can Engage the Private Sector to Improve Health in Africa” (2010), the private sector share of total health expenditure in Sub-Saharan Africa is on average 51 percent. Use of the private health sector in Africa is particularly strong among groups that policymakers most want to reach, including the poor, women, children, and people with diseases such as tuberculosis, malaria, and HIV.

The tools presented in this report help readers design strategies and approaches for engaging the private sector in a health system. Topics are organized into five modules outlining specific activities that can expand and tighten private health sector engagement leading to sustainable, pro-poor

Module 1: Why the Private Sector

The first module defines the private health sector, engagement, and stewardship. While the private health sector has various definitions, for this toolkit it includes nonprofit and for-profit private hospitals, clinics, laboratories, pharmacies, and the people working in them — doctors, nurses, midwives, pharmacists, and informal providers of health services. It also encompasses producers and distributors of pharmaceuticals as well as health education institutions. Module 1 explains that engagement is the deliberate, systematic collaboration of the government and the private health sector according to national health priorities, beyond individual interventions and programs. Within a public economics framework, engagement can be broken down into five domains: policy and dialogue, information exchange, regulation, financing, and public provision of services.

Module 2: The Policy Cycle

The second module describes how to engage with the private health sector using the policy cycle, an idealized framework that begins with assessment of the private health sector, continues with design and implementation of new policies for this sector, and ends with monitoring and evaluation of activities to determine impact. Along the way, toolkit viewers see how to conduct an assessment and develop an action plan. Module 2 identifies tools for stakeholder mapping, as well as sample government declarations and decrees on the private sector, work plans and board / working group to adapt as templates for the policy design process. Module 2 explains the challenges of monitoring and evaluation and the steps in developing a plan to monitor progress of public private dialogue with sample indicators and online tools.

Module 3: Engagement Tools

Module 3 covers the major engagement tools: policy and dialogue, information exchange, regulation, financing, and public provision of services. For each policy tool, definitions, best practice, case studies, and links to subject-specific resources are provided.

Module 4: Glossary

Module 4 contains the glossary of terms for engaging with the private health sector.

Module 5: Links

Module 5 has links to key policy reform tools by topic.

You can download this toolkit for free here.

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