Health and health care constitute a major economic force in most countries. Health-related goods and services constitute an estimated 10 percent of the global economy, around US$6.5 trillion. This “health economy” includes all stakeholders who are engaged in the production and consumption of health and health care – health services, products, financing, insurance, etc. Many people in low-and middle-income countries already depend on the private sector – from private providers, drug shops and clinics to hospitals, insurance providers, or managed care organizations – to meet their health needs.
Universal Health Coverage (UHC) is increasingly considered to be a critical component of sustainable development and poverty reduction, and is seen as essential in delivering better health and health system development. The scale of investment required to achieve global health goals and UHC calls for the public and private sectors to work together more effectively and collaboratively than ever before. The private sector has many skills and resources that are already contributing to and can be leveraged further to support the goal of achieving UHC.
As the global community organizes around the new Sustainable Development Goals (Goal 3.8: “Achieve UHC, including financial risk protection, access to quality essential health care services, and access to safe, effective, quality, and affordable essential medicines and vaccines for all”), governments, donors and other public sector actors have an opportunity to engage more strategically with the private sector to ensure responsible and sustainable sources of support for the achievement of UHC. The examples included in the case studies showcase a range of competencies that the private sector can contribute to the design and delivery of health services.