Governments around the world are recognizing the value of strategic partnerships to advance development initiatives and achieve national and global health goals. Public private partnerships (PPP) refers to an arrangement between the government and the private sector which traditionally aimed to provide public infrastructure, community facilities and other related services. These long-term partnerships are characterised by sharing investments, risks and rewards and responsibilities for the mutual benefit of both parties. In the Kenyan healthcare sector, the term public private collaboration (PPC) is used in place of PPP to recognize the important role played by smaller arrangements that don’t necessarily meet the threshold for PPP contracts set under the PPP legislation.
While the responsibility of providing public services rests with governments, the private sector can contribute by sharing resources and expertise. Such collaborations relieve pressure on the government, allowing them to focus on neglected areas such as primary and community health services. PPCs can contribute towards improving efficiency and enhance the value of public assets, enabling better return on investment.
Sustainable and high impact collaborations require a cohesive ecosystem with a shared understanding of the major challenges affecting local communities. It also needs local leaders to have a good understanding of the policy and regulatory instruments and how they can be deployed to engender ethical and effective collaborations. Designing models and solutions that encourage PPCs and uptake of fit-for-purpose solutions requires the expertise of an honest broker, a third-party who is well versed with the intricacies of the process. The Open Phences team, led by Professor Frank Wafula from Strathmore University Business School (SBS), are doing this across the region. They are establishing an innovative program of work that entails bringing together ecosystem actors for open, transparent, and effective engagement, co-creation of fit-for-purpose solutions, and co-investment in areas that have the potential for public good, all done whilst complying with relevant policy, legal and regulatory frameworks. The Open Phences team believes that solutions are agnostic to sectors, and that open, fair and transparent collaborations have the best chance of getting the most out of the (limited) available resources across sub-Saharan Africa.
Article by Shailja Sharma, Executive Fellow and Coach