Abt Associates: Bold thinkers driving real-world impact
An event organized by an Abt Associates-led project in Ethiopia and the country’s Federal Ministry of Health jump-started a dialogue among a wide range of stakeholders on the issues of public-private partnerships (PPPs) in health, health regulations, and financing in the health sector.
The meeting, entitled “The Private Health Sector in Ethiopia at a Crossroads,” was the first time that Ethiopian government and the private health sector have gathered to discuss common issues. The ultimate goal of the conversation is to enable the private health sector to participate fully in the country’s effort to achieve important public health goals.
The meeting was organized by the Private Health Sector Program (PHSP) – funded by USAID and led by Abt Associates – and the Federal Ministry of Health on March 26-27 in Addis Ababa. It was attended by more than 175 people, including senior representatives of the Federal Ministry of Health and associated agencies, regional health bureaus, the private health sector, donor agencies and key implementing partners.
A distinguished panel of plenary speakers opened the meeting, setting the state for a positive, yet frank discussion, including:
Isabelle Wachsmuth of WHO Geneva delivered the keynote on state of the art in public-private partnerships, and the remainder of the afternoon was devoted to panel presentations and discussions on the three main topics – PPPs, health sector regulation and health financing. Ethiopian government counterparts delivered presentations that outlined the current status of these three issues in Ethiopia. Guest speakers from South Africa, Kenya, Jordan, and the U.S. shared relevant experiences and results from other countries for the audience to consider.
Audience members contributed information and posed questions about the progress achieved in development of the private health sector in recent years in Ethiopia, as well as some of the policy issues hindering full participation of private providers and facilities in the country’s health system. Participants also expressed appreciation for the event’s networking opportunities.
The meeting concluded with reports from groups assigned to come up with recommendations for next steps related to PPPs, including regulation and financing for the private health sector in Ethiopia. PHSP is committed to refining and further articulating these recommendations in collaboration with key actors in the sector, and will work in partnership with the Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce to establish a permanent discussion forum for members of the private health sector, to further promote open communication and collaboration between the public and private health sectors.
After positive reflections offered by members of the regional governments, private health facility associations and the Chamber of Commerce, State Minister for Health, Dr. Kebede Worku, closed the meeting with a vote of thanks and commitment to continuing the frank and fruitful dialogue with the private health sector that will be required to reach the goal of quality healthcare for all in Ethiopia.
Abt Associates is a mission-driven, global leader in research, evaluation and program implementation in the fields of health, social and environmental policy, and international development. Known for its rigorous approach to solving complex challenges, Abt Associates is regularly ranked as one of the top 20 global research firms and one of the top 40 international development innovators. The company has multiple offices in the U.S. and program offices in more than 40 countries.