Updated on 24 May 2012
Emerging nations are looking at PPPs to improve their healthcare infrastructure
The challenges of providing quality healthcare to people are many for emerging nations in the Asia Pacific region. From getting qualified doctors and specialists to providing the right infrastructure in terms of hospitals and ensuring delivery of healthcare to people, the governments in these countries struggle with many problems, given the population and financial constraints. PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), a global professional services firm, suggests that the governments of emerging countries need to review their healthcare systems. The wide geographic and socio-economic differences make it imperative for the countries to have tailor-made funding systems that suit the needs of their locality.
In countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia and Philippines, which are tackling constraints such as finances, politics, lack of awareness and reaching out to remote regions, the trend is of turning to more experimental initiatives and do away with centralization and government control, without burdening the people with the costs. These countries are looking at public-private partnerships (PPPs) to solve their healthcare system problems. Malaysia is already promoting its people to save for their future medical needs through a savings account. The country has also opened its doors to foreign general practitioners and specialists who want to practice in the country by doing away with many regulations.
Indonesia and Philippines are still to take such initiatives as Malaysia, but are already initiating PPPs to reach out to people and remote regions.
PPPs: The way forward
At the recently held Economist Healthcare Forum in Singapore too, PPPs emerged as the most effective way to elevate the standard of public healthcare systems in South East Asian countries. The event, which was attended by health ministers, policymakers, practitioners, senior pharmaceutical executives and academics from various countries of the region, saw discussions on how some of these emerging countries are increasingly relying on private sources of financing to deliver health services.