The private sector is crucial to the delivery of good quality and accessible healthcare. For many of the people we serve, the local pharmacist or drug vendor is the first port of call when they have health concerns. This makes them essential to our efforts to ensure they are providing good quality health care in terms of vending essential supplies as well as providing a conduit for key innovation and sustainable approaches.
The first area of collaboration is health product market shaping. With our thorough understanding of market factors, we have provided packaged interventions that respond to changing local needs and experiences over time. We work with stakeholders all along the chain of supply and delivery to enhance sales and procurement of health products through private outlets.
How we are using this approach
For example, our strategy of intervening in the net market in Nigeria started out with a focus on capacity strengthening for procurement, distribution, brand advertising, as well as consumer price support. However, after several years of implementation, our intervention evolved into using the ‘making markets work for the poor’ approach. This focused on understanding why markets worked, how they are currently organised and how they could be influenced to work for the poor. A similar approach has also been used for rapid diagnostic tests for malaria, and other commodities and health products.
Other areas of our work include improvements to the quality of care for malaria and other febrile illnesses through different types of private service delivery points. We have engaged with private sector health providers to increase demand for quality assured malaria rapid diagnostic tests and artemisinin combination therapies through the ‘four Ps’ indirect marketing approach. This approach aims to ensure the availability of the right product at the right price and placement, accompanied by the right health promotion messages.
In addition to supporting retail and other service delivery outlets to sell commodities at affordable prices, other approaches we use include training on case management and rapid diagnostic test procedures, waste management, and supervision to support better diagnosis and treatment of febrile illnesses.
We are also working to ensure an adequate and sustainable supply of drugs for seasonal malaria chemoprevention, an intervention recommended by the World Health Organization for young children at risk of malaria during the rainy season in the Sahel region of sub-Saharan Africa.
Lastly, we have provided guidance to extractive industries and other private sector actors working in malaria endemic areas of the Asia-Pacific on how to minimise the negative impact of malaria transmission and prevent cases among their employees.