In alignment with Switzerland’s International Cooperation Strategy 2021-24 and the Agenda 2030’s orientation towards fostering public-private partnerships (SDG 17), the SDC recently published a Handbook on Private Sector Engagement.
In this context, the SDC Health Network organises a series of webinars between March and September 2021 to explore the different forms of private sector engagement in health and to discuss the challenges and opportunities in public-private partnerships (register here).
Switzerland's International Cooperation Strategy 2021–24 aims to expand cooperation with the private sector and exploit its potential to promote sustainable development in low and middle-income countries, including in fragile and conflict-affected settings. To this effect, private sector engagement (PSE) is not a goal in itself, but a means to fulfil the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDC has already accumulated substantial experience, particularly at the global level, to engage with the private sector in a targeted manner, in order to jointly contribute to the achievement of the SDGs. Interesting initiatives are also being promoted in selected countries through a variety of SDC instruments, both as short-term humanitarian interventions and longer-haul endeavours. In February 2021, the SDC published a Handbook on Private Sector Engagement, which provides operational guidance on the specific modality of Private Sector Engagement.
In health cooperation, the private sector “refers to all non-state actors involved in health: profit and not-for-profit, formal and informal, domestic and international. Almost all countries have mixed health systems" (Bull World Health Organ 2019; 97:434–435). The private sector plays a major role in all areas of healthcare provision including direct service delivery, production of drugs and commodities and related supply chain and key support functions, such as finance, transportation, and information technology services. Therefore, the path towards achieving the SGDs cannot ignore the private sector.
The Agenda 2030 sets out clear orientations for greater partnership (SDG 17), and encourages governments to identify common interests to foster new partnerships for universal health coverage (UHC), including with the private sector. To reach the agenda's objectives, the international community needs to find ways to effectively harness both the public and private sectors. This implies that traditional donors, such as SDC, also engage in efforts to better understand the private sector and to collaborate in an effective manner to maximize social returns.
Each module will last 1.30 to 2 hours. We will invite experts, partners and SDC colleagues to share their knowledge and experiences to help us navigate through current topical debates, global priorities, partnership modalities recommendations and a lot more. In a closing event (reserved for SDC staff) in October, we will analyze and think together on existing modalities and their applicability SDC's work. The module dates and programme might change according to external experts' availabilities.Two weeks prior to each module, a detailed program will be shared to Network members per email and posted on this website. All webinars will take place on Webex.
Module 1: Private Sector Engagement (PSE) in health cooperation: an introduction (10 March 2021)
Summary and take-home messages of the event
SDC PSE Handbook - Patrick Egli, SDC
Private Sector Engagement in COVID-19 Vaccination roll-out - David Clarke, WHO
Managing Mixed Health Systems: Leveraging New Types of Partners in Strengthening Health Systems - Dr. Priya Balasubramaniam, Center for Sustainable Health Innovations, Singapore
PSE in Humanitarian Settings: the IFRC Experience - Dr. Emanuele Capobianco, IFRC
Module 2: Strengthening pro-poor markets for health and enhancing the role of local businesses(14 April 2021)
Presentations and project summaries:
Module 3: Teaming-up to improve access to health technologies - Part I: Strengthening collaboration towards needs-based R&D for lower-income settings (12 May 2021)
Module 3 programme
Product Development Partnerships (PDPs) presentations:
Module 4: Teaming-up to improve access to health technologies - Part II: Ensuring quality of affordable health products in lower-income settings (16 June 2021)
Detailed event programme
Summary of the event
Guest speaker bios and presentations:
Module 5: Teaming-up with the private sector in emergency situations (23 July 2021)
Summary of the session
Module 6: Private foundations and philanthropies in health (October - tbd)
Module 7: Wrap-up session: what does it mean for my own context? (internal SDC event) (tbd)
On April 14, the second PSE in Health webinar session explored the diversity and comparative advantage of the private sector, the importance of local businesses in pro-poor markets, business (self-) regulation and the distinction between “profit" and “profiteering" (view the session material).
More specifically, we heard from our panelists:
“Many start-up founders are not wealthy people just looking to make money, some are looking for a network, contacts or are trying to solve a local problem." – Celine Bédu, Impact Hub Basel
“The motivation of private sector partners goes beyond money only. If they are offered recognition, invited in official events, consulted on regulatory processes, they will stay engaged on the long term." – Fiona Petronila Chilunda, HPSS
Now, we turn to you:
Share with us your experiences from your field!
On March 10, the first webinar event offered a 360° view on private sector engagement (PSE) in health cooperation. Experts from different fields highlighted the growing opportunities for public-private partnerships, as well as the role of the COVID-19 pandemic and digital solutions in the rise of new engagement models across the value chain. In turn, they identified disagreements on mechanisms, best-fit models for a standardised approach, as well as divergent modes of operation and distrust as the main obstacles to PSE (view the session material).
In particular, we heard from our guest speakers:
“Post-pandemic, governments will be turning more to the private sector, […] with innovation at the centre stage." – David Clarke, WHO
“Private sector engagement in humanitarian settings cannot be established during an emergency. It needs to be built before and it is a long-term engagement." – Dr. Emanuele Capobianco, IFRC
Now we turn to you:
We are happy to hear about you opinions and experiences!
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