Private Sector Entities Can Help Maintain, Strengthen Health Systems In Fragile Environments, Opinion Piece Says

Global Health NOW: Fragile States Need Private Sector Allies
Marian W. Wentworth, president and CEO of Management Sciences for Health

“…When a country’s government is frozen by conflict, natural disasters, financial crisis, or another crippling event, its health care system is all too likely to follow. Health workers flee or fall victim themselves, and hospitals run out of medicine and go dark. Others must step in to fill the void. The private sector, in all its forms, is the place to look. … Private actors come in different shapes and sizes — for-profit, not-for-profit, faith-based, and entrepreneurial — but they are often solving similar problems as public organizations: getting products to people, leveraging technology, mobilizing financial resources, and providing specialized labor. They can be valuable allies, not just in easing immediate needs but also in constructing a better-performing, reliable health sector in which all systems function well. … To equitably achieve global health goals — eradicating disease, achieving universal health coverage — we must leave no one behind. That means tapping every potential ally to help meet the needs of people who live in difficult circumstances, especially people with the least resources” (10/15).