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Engaging the Private Health Sector to Advance Universal Health Coverage: WHO Eastern Mediterranean Region Case Study

This is a discussion document commissioned by the World Health Organization and recommended by the Advisory Group on the Governance of the Private Sector to support the development of a WHO strategy. By Joel Shyam Klinton

In 2018, 22 member states of the Eastern Mediterranean Regional Office (EMRO) endorsed a framework for private sector engagement. The EMRO framework recognized variation in member state contexts, alongside a dominant - and common - contextual feature: high out-of-pocket expenditure by the poor in an environment of growing private health service delivery. EMRO spent considerable time and effort to evidence this context. The process of developing the framework – from evidence gathering, consultations, to strategic discussions – has informed EMRO’s plans for engaging the private sector. The case study is instructive for other WHO regional offices and member states seeking to deepen engagement with the private sector as part of Universal Health Coverage (UHC). WHO Department for Health Systems Governance and Finance (HGF) and its Advisory Group on the Governance of the Private Sector for UHC is working to support such initiatives through its work on a strategy for governance of mixed health systems.

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