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Public-private partnerships and global health equity: prospects and challenges

Augustine D Asante, Anthony B Zwi

DOI: 10.20529/IJME.2007.070


Abstract

Health equity remains a major challenge to policymakers despite the resurgence of interest to promote it. In developing countries, especially, the sheer inadequacy of financial and human resources for health and the progressive undermining of state capacity in many under-resourced settings have made it extremely difficult to promote and achieve significant improvements in equity in health and access to healthcare. In the last decade, public-private partnerships have been explored as a mechanism to mobilise additional resources and support for health activities, notably in resource-poor countries. While public-private partnerships are conceptually appealing, many concerns have been raised regarding their impact on global health equity. This paper examines the viability of public-private partnerships for improving global health equity and highlights some key prospects and challenges. The focus is on global health partnerships and excludes domestic public-private mechanisms such as the state contracting out publicly-financed health delivery or management responsibilities to private partners. The paper is intended to stimulate further debate on the implications of public-private partnerships for global health equity.

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