Free and Public

Universal health: from private coverage to public care

This great new two minute video captures the motivation and the rationale for the movement against a greater role for the private sector in the health care systems of low- and middle-income countries.

 

 

The video highlights the manipulation of the Universal Health Coverage agenda to serve the interests of profit making companies while simultaneously starving already crumbling public health services from badly needed investment.

 

 

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2 Responses to “Universal health: from private coverage to public care”

  1. Tessa Oraro says:

    I agree that some private for-profit providers may misuse the UHC agenda to further their own ends. However, I think it would be foolhardy to expect to achieve universal health coverage without the involvement of the private sector.

    The private sector is not just the for-profit organisations that have been highlighted in the video. They are also non-profit providers and mission hospitals who are largely located in poor urban and rural areas in developing countries. Government facilities have always been handicapped in that they *tend* to be located in cities and towns, thereby only reaching the ‘more endowed’ population who either live in the urban centres or can afford transport to get there. Private providers have been at the forefront of reaching the poor, in particular women and children, and achieving the gains in MDG4 and 5 that we have seen so far. This video also doesn’t take into consideration the social franchise networks, who are conveniently located in local markets, and are often the only quality services the working poor have access to.

    All these players will need to be integrated into countries’ plans towards UHC in order to make significant strides. In fact, many governments are already working with the private sector to ensure an integrated, people-focused approach to primary health care that will achieve the desired outcomes. They recognise their limitations, and see the private sector as an opportunity to support their infrastructural, human resource, and population reach requirements. Now, is the system open to abuse by some providers? Absolutely! But the benefits far outweigh the risks, and we ought to acknowledge that.

  2. Dr. Anne Musuva says:

    I am in complete agreement with Tessa Oraro. The private sector needs to be harnessed and it’s contribution towards achieving UHC recognized. Governments need to support the private sector in providing regulation to ensure minimal quality standards are adhered to.

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Global Health Check is edited by Anna Marriott, Health Policy Advisor for Oxfam GB, and welcomes contributions from different authors. If you would like to write an article for this site or if you have any queries please contact: amarriott@oxfam.org.uk.