How Can Public-Private Partnerships Work in Healthcare?

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Public private partnerships are sometimes the appropriate solution when you're looking at deploying an M-Health for strategy. Sometimes the solutions involve primarily governments or large NGOs, drawing on services that are provided by the private sector. But, not necessarily in the kind of partnership that we referred to when we talk about PPPs or Public Private Partnerships.

There's been traditionally in the global health space. Some degree of concern about preserving the integrity of a public health intervention, or strategy when they're private sector interests involved. But with the advent of M-Health, E-health to some extent, but really in the M-health world, we have involved now in the health space, new actors, new players that were prior to this M-Health revolution, not part of the M-Health equation.

We're talking about ministries of telecommunications, ministries of information, who have not been communicating necessarily strongly with the ministries of health. So, that just at the government level. But, we also now are purchasing services and gaining infrastructure from private telecom operators.

We're engaging private sector healthcare provider. So, the ecosystem has become a lot more complex with a lot more variation in the stakeholder mix that we think about when we talk about health in the M health space. So, sometimes it is required to make those partnerships work, when it make sense in increasing the efficiency and deploying the solution on the ground.

But, I think it is essential that we maintain the integrity of the public health solution itself. We wouldn't want say a breast milk substitute company providing messages to pregnant women about appropriate breast feeding, and there's some irony there which sometimes we have to tread very, very carefully.

I think there's a lot of sensitivities that we need to be aware of. But I think, it's also critical to think about business models and thinking about sustainability of these projects beyond the lifespan of the pilot or the innovation phase. And sometimes that does include a private sector investment, and a private sector remuneration model where the sustainability of the program really depends on some income stream being generated by the program.

And so that's where we have a scope for innovation in those partnerships.