The Country Connector supports important public health goals including universal health coverage, health security and health systems resilience.
The Country Connector seeks to redress a critical health system governance gap on the private sector by promoting the performance of six governance behaviours and helping countries with public private dialogue, policy making, regulation, formulating partnerships and using financing mechanisms.
The COVID-19 pandemic and its consequences have further served to reinforce the need to address this governance gap as part of global, regional, and national health security. These events have exposed the limitations of not having a policy on the role of the private sector in health or the corresponding resources necessary for effectively engaging with the private sector.
The Country Connector works by:
- Connecting country to country to share experiences and learnings;
- Connecting countries to the resources, tools and guidance needed for stronger health system governance and better public policy toward the private sector in health;
- Coordinating the efforts of multiple actors in delivering COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics and helps with efforts to rebuild more resilient and better prepared health systems.
SPOTLIGHT ON THE COUNTRY CONNECTOR AND ITS HISTORY
The “Transforming our world: 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” and its accompanying Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and specifically SDG 17, call for cooperation, collaboration and partnership between government, civil society and businesses.
To reach the agenda’s objectives, the international community needs to find ways to effectively harness the public and private sectors. The SDGs are integrated and indivisible, with progress in one area dependent upon progress in others. Both the private and public sector are needed to meet the health-related SDG targets, including the target of Universal Health Coverage (UHC).
The private sector’s involvement in health systems is significant in scale and scope and includes the provision of health-related services, medicines and medical products, financial products, training for the health workforce, information technology, infrastructure and support services.
The private sector’s role in health care is growing because it offers solutions to many challenges that have a negative impact on health systems including: health fiscal space constraints, increases in disease burden (particularly in relation to noncommunicable diseases), demographic shifts including ageing, population displacement and political and economic instability.
Recognising that member states will need to mobilise all sectors to maximise efforts to achieve these goals, in 2020 the WHO convened an Advisory Group on the Governance of the Private Sector for Universal Health Coverage. The Advisory Group developed a Strategy Report on “Engaging the private health service delivery sector through governance in mixed health systems”. The strategy identified a need to align global, regional and local partners working in this area and to build governance capacity at the country level to make and implement public policy about the role of the private sector in health service delivery.
The Country Connector is the next step toward this objective. The Country Connector is designed to facilitate collaboration and learning and to support countries to efficiently harness all actors in their health systems.
The Country Connector aims for improved:
Data and information systems: Strengthen data and information systems related to the whole health system, including private sector. An aligned and more holistic approach will be adopted to effectively support governments to take an inclusive approach and govern their whole health system public and the private.
Monitoring implementation: Establish global milestones and monitoring framework on engagement of the private sector, to monitor and measure results and ensure global coordination and accountability.
Knowledge curation and learning: Coordinating knowledge management and promoting operational research on engagement of the private sector for healthcare service delivery, with the connector providing an inclusive and coordinated structure for learning and evidence generation.
Guidance and tools: Provide tools for governance, scaling up proven tools, models and strategies for engagement of the private sector.
Step up leadership: Establish political momentum around a shared and aligned global vision of engagement of the private sector for health service delivery. Consultative forums will help fostering greater communication, cooperation, and collaboration at the global, regional and local level, raising awareness of the need to improve engagement of the private sector for healthcare service delivery, foster dialogue among all stakeholders, and advocate for sufficient, appropriate and well-coordinated resource allocation for technical support.