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IFC-World Bank Report Calls for Government and Private Sector Partnership to Expand Africa’s Health Services


In Nairobi, Kenya
Kimberlee A. Brown
Phone: +254 704 154 011
E-mail: Kbrown@ifc.org

In Washington, DC
Ludi Joseph
Phone: +1 202 473 7700
E-mail: Ljoseph@ifc.org


Nairobi, Kenya, June 6, 2011--A new IFC-World Bank report released today finds that if governments actively engage with the private sector in health, the pace of meeting health goals in Sub-Saharan Africa could be accelerated.  By leveraging the “power of two,” referring to the public and private sectors, health services can be expanded and the financial burden on governments eased.

This innovative report, entitled Healthy Partnerships: How Governments Can Engage the Private Sector to Improve Health in Africa, relies on in-depth data collection in 45 countries on the African continent to describe the current engagement, or lack thereof, between the public and private health sectors. It is the first report to look systematically at the relationship between the public and private health sectors in Africa providing information aimed at both parties on what improvements can be made and how.

The report found that many policies exist on paper, but are not implemented in practice. Thirty-nine out of the 45 countries researched have a policy towards the private health sector, but only 12 are implementing them. Meanwhile, all 45 countries require private facilities to be inspected, but in only five countries are the inspections carried out as required.

 “The only way we will be able to tackle the tremendous health care challenges on this continent is by working effectively with the private sector as equal partners, towards a common goal. The private sector can provide not only additional resources for investment, but also the required management capacity and critical innovation in the delivery of health services and goods,” stated Raila Odinga, Prime Minister Republic of Kenya.

“In many parts of rural Africa and in urban slums, the non state actors are the only providers of health care. It is up to governments to engage effectively with the private sector and provide direction to the collaboration,” said Eyitayo Lambo, former Nigerian Minister of Health.

“Given the lack of resources in Africa, it is crucial we leverage the power of two—public and private—to bring effective solutions to the continent’s enormous health challenges,” said Jean Philippe Prosper, IFC Director for East and Southern Africa.  “IFC and the World Bank Group are ready to work with African countries to catalyze effective public private engagement and support required policy and regulatory reforms that can substantially improve access to quality health services for all Africans.”  

Healthy Partnerships is a follow-up to the 2007 IFC-World Bank Business of Health in Africa report which found that the private sector delivers about half of Africa’s health products and services and called for a close partnership between the public and private sectors, including improvements to regulatory oversight. For more information about IFC-World Bank activities in health, please visit:  www.wbginvestmentclimate.org/health/.

About the World Bank Group
The World Bank Group is one of the world’s largest sources of funding and knowledge for developing countries. It comprises five closely associated institutions: the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA), which together form the World Bank; the International Finance Corporation (IFC); the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA); and the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). Each institution plays a distinct role in the mission to fight poverty and improve living standards for people in the developing world. For more information, please visit www.worldbank.org, www.miga.org, and www.ifc.org.