Since my last update on the PPP Initiative (PPPI), the world’s healthcare landscape has changed dramatically. Covid-19 has upended our daily lives, strained the world’s healthcare systems, and exacerbated existing healthcare crises like non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and aging populations. But as the healthcare landscape has changed, so too has the conversation surrounding healthcare public-private partnerships (PPPs). With more governments turning to PPPs as a way to achieve “more with less,” PPPI’s core objective—turning awareness into action—has never been more relevant. To that end, PPPI has achieved two significant goals: the production of a new, expansive core curriculum and the development of pioneering PPP workshops.

Core Curriculum

After nearly a year of development, PPPI’s newest core curriculum document, the PPP Government Guide: Designing Healthcare Solutions with PPPs, is now available on the website of the Multilateral Relations Office, Office of Global Affairs (OGA), HHS. OGA’s decision to publish the Guide will help support numerous governments and multilateral organizations around the world in their efforts to build capacity for healthcare PPPs.

Based on 17 years of PPP research and education, the Guide is designed to help executives in the public sector understand the incentives, motivations, frameworks, skills and management of conflicts of interest that underpin successful PPPs. It will serve numerous governments and leading universities. As a 135-page PPP primer which covers the preparation, engagement, and value creation associated with healthcare PPPs, the Guide has been carefully designed to develop and deepen executives’ learning process, using evidence-based case studies to situate abstract concepts in real-world examples.

 Pioneering Virtual Workshops

While the PPP Government Guide can be read independently, it is much more effective when accompanied by a hands-on workshop, executive education program, or graduate program. As such, the PPP Initiative is currently planning a series of high-level virtual workshops, engaging a wide variety of stakeholders: ministry of health professionals, graduate students, and executives in both the public and private sectors. The first of these virtual workshops will take place in July, hosted by the National University of Singapore’s School of Public Health and co-taught by Founding Dean Chia Kee Seng. Additional workshops are being discussed. Each workshop will give us an opportunity to means-test the Guide, incorporating participant feedback to ensure continuous improvement of our pedagogy and frameworks.

A Global NCD Platform

Since early 2018, PPPI has worked closely with WHO’s Independent High-Level Commission on NCDs to promote an understanding of the economic consequences of non-communicable diseases. It is our view that, by taking an economic approach to this massive healthcare crisis, governments and multilaterals will be better equipped to develop innovative solutions, including engagement with the private sector.

In 2018, when I was asked to serve as a Technical Expert to the Commission, global capacity for healthcare PPPs was significantly underdeveloped, and the Commission’s work was focused primarily on the health impacts of NCDs, rather than the economic impacts. My work advocating for an economics-minded approach—with a significant emphasis on negotiation—was well-received, and in March of 2019, I was asked to moderate a roundtable discussion co-chaired by the World Economic Forum and the governments of the United States and Kenya. Participants included 45 officials from UN member states and fifteen private-sector representatives. And in April of that same year, I presented a WHO-commissioned paper, Potential Business Models that Involve Private Sector Support for National Responses in Preventing and Controlling NCDs, to high-level members of the Commission in Geneva. Throughout the remainder of 2019, PPPI continued to support key Commission members.

The Commission’s Final Report, released in December of 2019 includes Recommendation Six, which calls on WHO to “increase its engagement with the private sector to promote their effective and meaningful contribution to global NCDs targets and goals.”

As global support for healthcare PPPs builds worldwide, PPPI continues to prepare both governments and the private sector to develop partnerships that are effective, stable, and sustainable.