Public, Private Partnership for Excellence in Public Health

28 Dec 2022

Public Health is a vital arena and holds special significance for the development of any country. The overarching mandate of public health is to improve the health and wellbeing of the population at large, which requires concerted efforts towards creating innovative solutions and comprehensive advancements in health.

The Public, Private Partnership (PPP) model demands decision-makers, policymakers, industry leaders and NGOs to work together to contribute to health for all. It is a central pillar in the Indian National Health Policy for implementing public health action.

The policy’s formulation indicates that the private sector can play an important role in filling the gaps in the system. A robust monitoring and evaluation ecosystem, capacity building, and high-quality state resources are critical requirements for strengthening healthcare systems in the PPP domain.

Sustained Private Sector Engagement in Public Health – Decoding Impact Investments

Impact Investment refers to a bouquet of financial instruments where the private sector has the opportunity to invest. The promise is tied to measurable outcomes and is an outcome-based funding model, which requires institutional facilitation.

It is specifically beneficial for states to adopt these models and work together with the industry to improve capacity to absorb the allocated budget for efficient implementation of any health scheme or policy at the state level.

Capacity building is one area where industry can play an important role. The current system requires a large and effective cadre of efficient people on the ground. Even though ASHA and Aanganwadi workers plays a substantial role, there is still a need to invest in more people at the ground level, which requires special attention and financing.

Integrating Social Determinants of Health

Social determinants can significantly influence health, well-being, quality-of-life outcomes and risks of individuals. Research shows that social determinants can be more important than access to health care or lifestyle choices in influencing health. Factors like access to education, clean water and sanitation, and basic facilities can considerably impact the way healthcare is understood and accessed.

There is a need to focus on violence against women, unequal access to education, and the impact of migration on women, among other issues. These should become a part of healthcare to improve the health determinants.

Knowledge to Action

The challenge of preventing Communicable and Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) at all levels is quite significant. NCDs are complex and have non-modifiable risk factors and their cases differ in rural areas from in urban areas. There are multiple risk factors, like, tobacco and alcohol consumption, associated with NCDs. As priorities have moved from disease to health to wellness, the focus is on bringing about lifestyle changes.

Substantial responsibility for curbing these diseases falls on the communities, creating awareness, using the provisioning and the systems available for their benefit. Experts believe that social impact funding models should be brought under the purview of PPP and efficiently integrated with it to better equip communities in successfully dealing with these diseases.

Technology and its Role in Enabling First Mile Health 

Technology will play a significant role in revolutionizing the healthcare industry. Mobile devices, in conjunction with related technologies, will transform healthcare delivery by enabling the development of new models that can be integrated with existing health services. The first-mile health segment has enormous potential for public-private partnerships, opening up opportunities for entrepreneurship, as well as, societal change.

New healthcare delivery models will increase access to high-quality care while encouraging people to do ‘things on their own” as basic health and well-being can be managed by self to maintain optimum health.

All-Inclusive Public Health Goals 

The pandemic demonstrated the need for inclusivity and innovation in Indian Public Health systems. Healthcare must be examined more thoroughly to consider different ethnic groups, gender and stages of a person’s lifecycle. It not only requires access to quality services but, also demands a shift in perception.

Health and nutrition for Indian tribal communities require significant investment in building quality primary healthcare systems with robust referral chains. Additionally, there is a specific need in medical and health education to make service providers aware of the needs of the LGBTQ communities to make service delivery more efficient and accessible.

Opportunities for the Future

In the healthcare sector, India has a huge opportunity to provide trained manpower to the rest of the world. There is a global shortage of paramedics on the ground, which presents an opportunity for the country. Furthermore, India has the opportunity to lead the way in integrating traditional and modern medicine to create new care pathways for the rest of the world.

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