This week – as part of the Private Sector In Health TWG’s mutual learning series on ‘Unlocking Private Enterprise for Public Good – Redesigning Health Systems for UHC during COVID-19 and beyond’ – the TWG held a Parliamentarian Dialogue in partnership with the European Parliamentary Forum for Sexual and Reproductive Health and the Global Parliamentary Alliance for Health Rights and Development.
This event builds on a series of roundtables held in the last couple of months aimed at identifying ways a research partnership platform can help both governments and the private sector respond to a challenge like COVID-19 and also apply lessons learned to engage beyond this emergency in strengthening future health systems.
Parliamentarians across Africa attended the parliamentary dialogue. Speakers included parliamentarians from Africa and Asia, as well as representatives from the private sector, from a multilateral agency and regional NGO.
- Hon Dr. Chris Kalila, MP Zambia
- Hon Ms. Esther Passaris, MP Kenya
- Hon Prof. Enver Roshi, MP Albania
- Hon. Marie Rose Nguini-Effa, MP Cameroon and President, FPA.
- Mr. David Clarke, WHO
- Ms. Sujata Sounik, Additional Chief Secretary, Government of Maharashtra, India
- Susanne Weissbaecker, Global Head of Access to Medicines at Takeda
- Ms. Lolem B. Ngong, Chief of Staff to the Group CEO AMREF Health Africa
Key takeaways from the discussion
- There is a global commitment to achieving UHC. A year ago, the Political Declaration for the UN High-Level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage was be approved by UN Member States. The current COVID-19 situation and its social and economic consequences has reinforced the need to invest in UHC. In addition, there is a commitment to revitalise the global partnership for sustainable development (SDG 17).
- There are some emerging lessons and best practices from Asia and Africa, (in service delivery, financing, use of technology, supply chains and access to medicines) which have enabled new ways of working together in the Covid-19 response.
- Parliamentary leadership is key in establishing legal/regulatory frameworks that facilitate, engage and enable coordinated, credible and reliable collaboration between the public and private sectors.
- Parliamentarians need evidence to inform their role in reviewing and formulating laws. This includes documented best practise models from around the world, as well as context-specific baseline information ranging from who the stakeholders are, what services are available, what the health seeking behaviours are on the demand side, etc.
- Therefore, parliamentarians need support from researchers in research institutes and universities, as well as health experts in government to put in place clear steps for the government to encourage public and private partnerships and ensure that health services meet the needs of the public.
- Accountability frameworks need to be developed based on evidence. From a government perspective, it is important to be able to track the performance of service providers, and hold the private sector to account. For the private sector, it is key to have a clear framework to follow.
- There is much to learn in terms of regional collaboration in managing mixed health systems and evidence can play an important role in enabling parliamentarians to decide what works and why.
- Evidence on non-state actors has to capture diversity, distribution as well as supply and demand side consideration.
- While legislation need to discourage dangerous or exploitative practices, regulatory reform needs to needs to allow innovation, evidence generation and be more adaptable to health system disruption.
- Laws need to incentivise the Private Sector actors to contribute to national strategies for making progress towards universal health coverage.
- Intermediaries, i.e. organisations able to serve as an intermediary between the community, the private sector and the government have a crucial role to play, as illustrated in the examples shared.
- WHO’s private sector governance road map and strategy offers a framework for private sector engagement.
- In the coming months, a Commission on UHC for Africa is expected to be launched at the Africa Health Agenda International Conference, and key policy recommendations for parliamentarians in Africa presented.
The PSIH TWG is establishing a platform for research and mutual learning on the management of mixed health systems and it looks forward to ongoing dialogue with parliamentarians.
For more information about the mutual learning series, please visit the Digital Unconference website or email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. To inform the mutual learning series, HSG members and other interested stakeholders are invited to contribute to a short survey.
Please also join the next webinar on 7 October on ‘New Health Partnerships Models – Redesigning Health systems during COVID 19 and beyond – Primary Health Models’.