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Involving Private Providers in the COVID-19 Response in Senegal
At a SHOPS Plus ceremony to provide personal protective equipment to private health providers, Dr. Khady Cisse, Vice President ASPS (Private Sector Health Alliance), accepts supplies from Mr. Abdoulaye Diouf Sarr, Minister of Health.
In March 2020, the government of Senegal declared a state of emergency following the global outbreak of COVID-19. USAID immediately tapped its partners to aid the national pandemic response. Understanding how integral the private sector is to the health system, the agency engaged the Abt Associates-led SHOPS Plus project to strengthen the country’s private sector COVID-19 response.
A concerted public and private sector approach was critical for the success of the national response to this unprecedented pandemic. Abt collaborated with the Ministry of Health and local stakeholders. By mobilizing new and existing resources, communication channels, and relationships with private providers, SHOPS Plus ensured the involvement of the private sector. The project’s interventions to support the private sector in the prevention, detection, and treatment of COVID-19 cases included:
Facilitating public-private dialogue: SHOPS Plus successfully advocated for the inclusion of the Private Sector Alliance in the National Committee for Epidemic Management and the creation of a national and 14 regional private sector task forces for the COVID-19 response.
Communicating with local stakeholders: SHOPS Plus worked with the Ministry of Health and local partners to create and disseminate important COVID-19 health messages at points of sale.
Mapping of the private sector: With CNGE and the private sector task forces, SHOPS Plus led a survey to assess the private sector’s human and materiel resources. The findings from this study helped to focus the private sector response to the pandemic.
Supporting government testing: Abt supported the government’s efforts to survey private laboratories and determine their ability to test for and diagnose COVID-19 cases.
Training private health providers: In collaboration with the Ministry of Health, SHOPS Plus trained private providers to identify, test, respond to, and treat COVID-19, as well as report important health information to national databases.
Procuring infection prevention and control commodities: Using the findings from the private sector mapping, SHOPS Plus procured needed quantities and types of personal protective equipment for the private sector.
Mitigating financial impact: To support the financial health of private providers amid economic uncertainty, SHOPS Plus distributed a questionnaire to determine the economic impact of COVID-19 on the private sector, and used the findings to help private providers to develop financial mitigation plans.