The Quality of Care Network, in partnership with WHO, is exploring mechanisms for engaging the private sector in delivering maternal and newborn health services with quality. The exploratory project documents the lessons learned from private sector delivery of quality maternal and newborn health services and identifies mechanisms and opportunities for collaboration between the public and private sectors.
The private sector plays a key role in delivering maternal and newborn health services. One in five births in low- and middle-income countries occurred with care delivered by the private sector . In most member countries of the Quality of Care Network, private health sector is one of the fastest growing segments of the health-care system, and private providers (i.e., non-government providers for profit individuals, facilities and businesses) are an important source of health care. Whilst the private sector’s role is expanding in many countries, the quality of services varies. Little is known about how to sustain and ensure that the private sector delivers quality care in low- and middle-income countries, and what the public sector needs to do to facilitate this process. There is a need to understand what can be done to create, nurture and encourage a vibrant private sector that is fully engaged in improving and sustaining quality of care for mothers and newborns. Through an effective collaboration with the private sector, we have the potential for reaching more women and newborns with quality health services in accordance with their needs.
Based on the findings of this project, we propose models for effective engagement of the private sector in collaborating with national governments, delivering quality maternal and newborn health services, and demonstrating accountability for quality of care for maternal and newborn health. Other countries can draw upon these models when planning and implementing their national quality of care plans and processes.