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During health emergencies, governments needs to mobilize all resources – both public and private – to accelerate the implementation of national response efforts. At the same time, they are called to ensure the private health sector’s actions are aligned to core principles of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and are directed towards the achievement of national health goals. This course defines key concepts and presents a range of tools and proven approaches to enable Ministries of Health to harness private sector capacity to achieve key policy goals, ensuring equitable access to COVID-19 tools while advancing Health for All.

Please note: These materials were launched on 27/01/2022.

Photo credits: D. Wegewijs

Language: English

Course information

This course is also available in the following languages :

Français- العربية - فارسی - Español- Português - Русский

Overview: The course focuses on the urgent need to engage the private health sector to ensure the efficient and equitable delivery of diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines needed at the country level to effectively tackle the COVID-19 pandemic. It has been carefully designed to empower health ministries with the skills and tools to effectively collaborate and partner with the private health sector. It has been designed to support countries’ response to COVID-19 and it will be equally relevant with regards to the engagement of the private sector for all the health objectives needed to ensure the achievement of Health for All.

The target audience for this course includes the Ministry of Health, policymakers and program managers, WHO staff at regional and country levels, and global health practitioners and researchers supporting COVID-19 efforts (and other health objectives beyond COVID-19) in countries.

For any questions regarding the content of this course, please contact the team through the following link:

Course duration: Approximately 2 hours.

Certificates: A Record of Achievement certificate will be available to participants who score at least 80% of the total points available across all of the quizzes. Participants who receive a Record of Achievement can also download an Open Badge for this course. Click here to learn how.

Note that the training course completion will also grant a certification from the American Association of Continuing Medical education, for a total of 18 credit hours.

What you'll learn

  • Identify the scale of the private health sector in your country, and the elements of it that are most relevant to the delivery of COVID-19 tools
  • Map and define private sector actors that are relevant to a particular health problem
  • Describe key concepts related to the private health sector, and the governance behaviours required for effective stewardship of “mixed” health systems
  • Explain the critical challenges, benefits and risks of private sector engagement, and how to optimise engagement to achieve policy goals
  • Define the range of tools used to shape the scope, activities and behaviours of the private health sector in alignment with policy goals, understand the contexts in which they work best, and their mechanisms of effect.

Course contents

  • Module 1: What is the private health sector, and why does it matter?:

    By the end of this module, learners will describe the private health sector, its breadth and scope, and explain its relevance for national health policies.
  • Module 2: Why do policy makers need to engage the private health sector?:

    By the end of this module, learners will explain the benefits for policymakers to engage the private health sector, describe how governments can leverage the private sector, and how different strategies can be pursued to achieve nationally-defined health goals.
  • Module 3: What are the key behaviours for governance of a mixed health system?:

    By the end of this module, learners will list the six key governance behaviours that enable the private health sector to contribute effectively to important health policy objectives, including fighting COVID-19 and striving to achieve Health for All.
  • Module 4: What is public-private dialogue and its best practices?:

    By the end of this module, learners will define what public-private dialogue (PPD) “looks like” in a health policy setting, explain the challenges, benefits, and risks of the process, and describe good practices that make PPD effective.
  • Module 5: How to facilitate an effective public-private dialogue process?:

    By the end of this module, learners will describe how to implement a PPD process based on a proven six-step process, explain implementation tips based on field experience, and describe the skills and competencies required to facilitate a successful dialogue process.
  • Module 6: How to contract the private sector during an emergency?:

    By the end of this module, learners will describe what contracting is in healthcare, explain the challenges and risks in contracting during an emergency, and outline how these can be prevented or mitigated in practice.
  • Module 7: How to landscape the private sector to identify relevant private groups to rollout COVID-19 vaccines?:

    By the end of this module, learners will describe the purpose, design, and implementation of a landscaping exercise
  • Module 8: How to deploy the tools of governments to harness the private sector to deliver COVID-19 services?:

    By the end of this module, learners will describe how specific policy tools can be, and are, used to create constraints and incentives for the private health sector to operate in accordance with key health policy objectives, including fighting COVID-19 and building towards Health for All.
  • Module 9: How have governments engage the private sector to deliver COVID-19 tools? Lessons from the Eastern Mediterranean Region:

    By the end of this module, learners will provide a practical example of how some of the discussed tools can address many of the challenges faced by LMICs in engaging the private sector. Through showcasing examples from the Eastern Mediterranean - the WHO Region with the highest utilization of private sector services - you will be able to see how the tools can be relevant to different health systems

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Learners enrolled: 12804

Certificate Requirements

  • Gain a Record of Achievement by earning at least 80% of the maximum number of points from all graded assignments.