Research and Learning on: COVID-19

The private sector’s (both for-profit and not-for profit) involvement in health systems is growing in scale and scope in many countries and it 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 way the private sector is organised and operates is often influenced by the organisation and behaviour of the public sector, with well governed and competent public health systems generating complementary, reasonable-quality private healthcare service delivery . In contrast, countries with an unregulated private health sector may have an inefficient and inequitable public health system. 

COVID-19 pandemic showed in many settings that the private sector has been key to support the fight against the pandemic, bringing resources, skills and capacities to maximize the national response. At the same time, adverse behaviours and opportunistic practices have also been featured by private actors in the health systems. This highlighted the need for a strong governance of the health system as a whole in order to steward all health actors to behave in accordance with national health principles. However, governments often lack the capacities and the know-how to govern health systems as a whole and to engage with non-state actors, whether they are private not-for profit, private for-profit or civic actors.