International Health

Private Sector Health

Susan Mitchell, M.B.A., Vice President, International Health at Abt Associates and Director of the SHOPS Project, discusses, engaging the private sector.

Most consumers in much of the developing world rely on the private sector as their main source of health care. The private sector is large and diverse, encompassing a wide range of for-profit and non-profit entities. Private, for-profit practitioners — including midwives, doctors, pharmacists, product manufacturers and distributors, shopkeepers, and traditional healers — are often the leading providers of health products and services across all income groups. However, public health program planning often doesn’t consider private sector providers despite their varied and critical role in health systems. 

Abt Associates’ thoughtful engagement of the private sector in meeting health challenges helps to reduce the burden on government health workers and improve targeting of public health resources to meet the needs of the poorest populations. Private sector partnerships also present the opportunity to leverage resources, introduce innovative tools and solutions, and expand the sustainability of public health interventions.
Abt staff has worked on some of the most important private sector health initiatives of the past 25 years. Abt leads the Sustaining Health Outcomes through the Private Sector (SHOPS Plus) project, USAID’s flagship project in private sector health. Abt also leads the Private Sector Health project in Ethiopia.

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