Tips for successful public-private partnerships
IPIHD innovators share their lessons learned in a private panel
During a recent virtual panel, members of the International Partnership for Innovative Healthcare Delivery (IPIHD) discussed how to strengthen government capacity through public-private partnerships, including impediments to partnership development.
A bit of background on IPIHD: Nineteen innovators were selected for the International Partnership for Innovative Healthcare Delivery (IPIHD), conceived by the World Economic Forum, Duke, and McKinsey, and housed at Duke Medicine. Four of the innovators selected to join the Network were discovered through CHMI: Operation ASHA (India, Cambodia), Aprofe (Ecuador), LV Prasad (India), and Changamka (Kenya). Participants get access to know-how through private forums, including annual events with investors, mentorship from global industry executives, and insight into working within regulatory structures.
Listening in to the virtual panel on building sustainable public-private partnerships were other IPIHD member Innovators, global collaborators, and IPIHD supporters such as Astrazeneca, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, WEF, and McKinsey. Here are three key insights shared by panelists.
1. Highlight opportunities for governments to save money
“Governments need to leverage innovation for efficiency,” said Dr. Nisthar of Heartfile Health Financing. Dr. Karan of Riders for Health, an organization providing transport and logistics support to Ministries of Health for the delivery of health services to the last mile, agreed. Dr. Karan said it’s helpful to point out that governments are already paying for the services provided by development partners—and countries can save money when the spending is more efficiently allocated. In the Gambia, Riders developed a leasing model in which the government only pays for services it uses. The new fleet of vehicles, mostly motorbikes and 4x4s that can traverse rough terrain, were financed through a partnership with the Skoll Foundation and the Guarantee Trust Bank in the Gambia.
Rwanda’s Minister of Health Dr. Agnes Binagwaho has already stated that he expects the country’s partnership with the soon-to-be launched franchise network One Family Health to add value and bring health services closer to communities. The organization will franchise 500 health outposts provided by government and staffed by nurses. Nurses will buy in to the franchise with donor-subsidized loans from a local bank. GSK has committed £900,000 to get an initial 60 health posts up and running, and will provide £1.8million in new funding as an interest free loan to enable the franchise network to reach 180 more health posts.
2. Ink the deal
Many speakers stated that partnerships can help governments address their national health goals. But for a partnership to succeed, Dr. Karan stressed that governments should have complete buy-in on detailed contractual MOUs articulating how much they are paying for services. Dr. Allan Pamba also emphasized that ensuring all roles and responsibilities were clear was very important. After this process, a temporary contracting relationship can evolve into a permanent line-item in the budget. This in turn enables health partners to invest and plan for the long term.
3. Actively pursue relationships at all level of government
In many countries, a lack of policy structure for public-private partnerships hinders their development and sustainability. Dr. Nishtar cautioned that even the term ‘partnership’ was value laden since partnerships were often ‘ad hoc.’
With a lack of supporting structures, partnerships are often driven by relationships with government officials—a situation that can be unpredictable. “Your permanent secretary can change every few years,” cautioned Dr. Karan. Building trust and linkages throughout all levels of government can offer some protection against the relationship-driven nature of PPPs.
A discussion on this topic continues online at IPIHD Access.
IPIHD virtual panels are open to current members of the network. IPIHD will also be hosting a series of panels open to all. To view current events, and learn more, click here.