Africa: Expert urges private sector to view "healthy population as an economic investment", not philanthropy

Author: Dr. Githinji Gitahi (Amref Health Africa), in Daily Nation (Kenya) , Published on: 11 October 2016

"There's strong case for engagement of private sector in healthcare"

The case for private sector engagement in global health is stronger now more than ever because of the huge funding and knowledge gaps in global healthcare that only the private sector can plug. Private sector efforts need to complement what the public sector and NGOs are doing. Private sector in health includes players such as private doctors, clinics, hospitals, pharmacists, laboratories, pharmaceutical manufacturers, medical technology companies, financial sector, information and communication technology companies, as well as private training institutions for health human resources...

To amplify the role of the private sector in healthcare, we need to leverage on partnerships. These present an opportunity to drive bottom-of-the-pyramid solutions that are not only innovative but also sustainable, solutions that help provide low cost access to the marginalised and at the same time drive profitability in the private sector...

More significantly, it is important for the private sector to understand that its engagement in healthcare is not a matter of philanthropy. It needs to see the opportunity for a healthy population as an economic investment and not merely corporate social investment, important as this is. Even for those companies that deal in consumer goods, a healthy and empowered population assures sustainable consumption patterns. A healthy work force also means a better labour market.

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