Global health has historically been dominated by United Nations agencies and bilateral organizations, but new and important partnerships with the private sector have emerged since the 1990s. According to the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), 30 years ago, 70 percent of resource flows from the United States to the developing world came in the form of Official Development Assistance.
Today, 80 percent of those resource flows come from foreign direct investment, private donations, remittances, and other non-governmental sources. Official Development Assistance accounts for only 14 percent of these resource flows today, underscoring the increasing importance of the private sector in the development process.
In the area of social and behavior change (SBC), this trend is evidenced by the hundreds of programs that partner with private corporations, health providers, and other entities in a variety of roles. These roles can include:
- Supply Chain
Governments view partnering as a way to expand access to higher-quality health services by leveraging private sector capital, managerial capacity, and know-how. SBC professionals often work with private sector partners to introduce them to the art and science of SBC. For both sides, the learning experience and the development of a mutually beneficial partnership is a win-win situation and is critical to the success of joint efforts.
In order to assist SBC professionals, this Trending Topic provides a variety of references, tools, and program examples related to SBC programs involving the private sector. If you have any suggestions, comments, or other materials to add, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Madhavan S, Bishai D, Stanton C, Harding A. (2010). Engaging the private sector in maternal and neonatal health in low and middle income countries. Retrieved from: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/57a08b3940f0b64974000a40/WP12.pdf
Riley, C., et al. (2018). Getting to FP2020 – Harnessing the role of the private sector to increase modern contraceptive access and choice in Ethiopia, Nigeria, and DRC. Retrieved from: https://www.psi.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/ICFP-FPwatch-Private-Sect…
Smith, E., Brugha, RF, Zwi, A. (2001). Working with the private sector providers for better health care: An introductory guide. Retrieved from: https://www.who.int/management/partnerships/private/privatesectorguide.pdf
Sturchio, Jeffrey L. (2013). The Evolving Role of the Private Sector in Global Health. Huffington Post. Retrieved from: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/jeffrey-l-sturchio/the-evolving-role-health_b_2432823.html
World Bank. (2011). Healthy Partnerships: How Governments Can Engage the Private Sector to Improve Health in Africa. Retrieved from: https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/handle/10986/2304
Banner Photo: © 2014 Amelie Sow-Dia, Courtesy of Photoshare. A private pharmacy staff member in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, holds a pack of Lem Lem Plus—combined oral rehydration salts and zinc to treat diarrhea (and prevent new episodes of diarrhea) in children under five.