Two women from Madagascar pose in front of a table at a signing ceremony with the School of Medicine, University of Antananarivo.



Public stewards in many countries are increasingly interested in working with the private sector to achieve health goals, and there is wide recognition that the sector can improve access to care. This brief shares a range of approaches and experiences in public-private engagement from SHOPS Plus work in Nigeria, Senegal, and Tanzania. It provides lessons learned and practical tips for donors who want to support future efforts in public-private engagement in health.

Practical Tips

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Support generation of reliable data

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Facilitate inclusive and participatory dialogue

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Equip public sector with necessary skills

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Consider phased approaches

Way Forward

Two female health providers at Clínica de Familia look at a clipboard together. One wears a lab coat and the other does not. They wear masks.

Way Forward


While there is increased recognition that the private health sector is an important partner to engage in the pursuit of public health goals, countries vary widely in their level of public-private engagement in health. Some countries already have many of the foundational elements, such as up-to-date data, strong stewardship capacity, an enabling environment, efficient partnership tools, and mechanisms that promote dialogue, while other countries’ efforts are nascent. There is not a “one size fits all” approach. It is essential that donors and implementing partners tailor approaches to the country context and the readiness and capacity of local entities to engage and partner with one another. A successful and sustainable approach to public-private engagement requires strong political leadership coupled with the presence of champions who can lead change. Donors can play an important role in identifying and supporting that leadership, and in facilitating a country-led engagement process.

This is one in a series of briefs on private sector approaches in family planning.




Sustaining Health Outcomes through the Private Sector (SHOPS) Plus is a five-year cooperative agreement (AID-OAA-A-15-00067) funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). This website is made possible by the generous support of the American people through USAID. The information provided on this website is not official U.S. government information and does not represent the views or positions of USAID or the U.S. government.

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