Internationally there is currently a big debate around whether the for-profit private health sector – both formal and informal – can help to solve the problems of health systems in low- and middle-income countries.
My worry is that, whereas the for-profit sector may be able to provide good quality care, it is seldom affordable to more than a relatively privileged few. Sometimes even the quality of care may be suspect because of distorted financial incentives. Further, a strong private sector may attract scarce human resources away from the public sector.
Yet perhaps there are models that could work. It would be wonderful if the efficiencies and innovation of the private sector could be used to benefit the entire population! … although this would probably mean that the private sector would have to accept lower profit margins …
What are readers’ opinions? Does anyone know of examples from low- or middle-income settings where this sort of thing has been achieved? Let’s start a discussion ….