Utilizing Public Private Partnerships in Fighting Covid-19: Can the Public Sector Overcome Coronavirus Challenges Alone?

Jeremiah Bvirindi

Utilizing Public Private Partnerships in Fighting Covid-19: Can the Public Sector Overcome Coronavirus Challenges Alone?

Keywords : Governance, Healthcare, Coronavirus, public -private partnership


The perennial economic crisis in Zimbabwe has crippled the once superior health delivery system thereby reducing the country’s capacity to cope with the global COVID- 19 pandemic. As of 16 August 2020, Zimbabwe recorded 5251 cumulative cases; 3037 active cases, 2092 recoveries and 132 deaths and the figures are growing faster than expected against the background of inadequate PPE for health personnel working at the country’s health facilities. This health crisis has overburdened the government’s weak systems coupled with lack of serious interest to attract the private healthcare players through PPPs arrangements. The health sector is unacceptably underfunded with a budget allocation of US$7 per capita against the recommended US$34 per capita per annum. Ultimately, these gaps result in loss of life and untold suffering of the poor who are not able to access the services of the private players in the healthcare provision. Included in the Zimbabwe’s new constitution (2013) section 76 (1), is the government’s responsibility to ensure every citizen and residents have access to basic healthcare provisions. In its response to the COVID-19, it is expected that the Zimbabwe government should observe the set minimum standards. Globally, governments are facing budget constraints to adequately finance healthcare provisions and systems. It is therefore against this background that some countries are embracing Private Public Partnerships as joint efforts to improve healthcare service delivery to save lives. Key enablers for the successful implementation of public private partnerships are: strong political leadership, favourable policy and effective organisational capacity. It increasingly came to the fore in the foregoing discussion that the conduciveness of the broader operating environment is critical for the success of PPPs. In particular, the legal and regulatory environment should be sufficient and appropriate for the establishment of PPPs. It also came out clearly that political will as well as a conducive political environment is a crucial success factor for PPPs. As such, governance of sustainable PPPs in healthcare financing is an area for further research. It is evident that currently Zimbabwe does not have an adequate legal and legislative framework for PPPs. This implies that for the effective implementation of PPPs to be effected, the country should develop an appropriate legislative and regulatory framework for good PPPs governance.


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