Private Healthcare in Developing Countries

Private Sector Health Services

In developing countries and areas of limited healthcare access, private providers act on the front line and are often the only form of healthcare available.  Although the private sector plays an increasingly important role in healthcare in developing countries, it remains a new area of study and innovation.  As governments of developing countries fall short of providing widespread access to care, and traditional charity-focused NGOs offer limited or temporary solutions, the private sector presents an opportunity for sustainable scale-up of healthcare services alongside social and economic development.  Included in the scope of private sector agencies are both for-profit private providers, and NGOs that apply market-based approaches to service delivery.

Our Goal

The aim of this website is to present a brief and up-to-date review of the pertinent issues in private sector healthcare delivery. This work is not biased by outside funding sources or agendas, and the content is intended not only to serve as a resource, but also as a springboard for sharing information.  Welcome.

This Site

Private sector topics are organized into two major categories: Service Delivery and Disease. Within this framework this site presents topics related to the delivery of private sector health services and goods in general, and disease-specific private sector services, respectively.  For each topic, we provide a summary review of the issues at hand, current programs and approaches, and links to additional resources. The Resources page presents links organized according to topic area.

We welcome your feedback.

Data: New analysis of DHS data from 48 countries provides clearly synthesized information on use of private sector providers by wealth quintile.

Data on private general outpatient pediatric care are online here.

Data on private family planning care are online here.

Data on private ARI care is here.

Data on private pneumonia care is here.

All data at the links above is shown both by country and region, with source of care analyzed by wealth quintile. This work was supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

2011 Pre-iHEA Symposium on the Private Sector: Presentations from the July 2011, including keynote speakers Timothy Evans and Julio Frenk, can be found here.

Newsletter: We consolidate the most important article summaries, news stories, and event announcements into a two-page newsletter which we distribute electronically every two months. If you would like to receive this bi-monthly newsletter please fill in your email address here. Current or prior newsletters can be downloaded as pdf documents from here.


Vouchers as Demand Side Financing Instruments for Health Care: A Review of the Bangladesh Maternal Voucher Scheme

A maternal health voucher scheme in Bangladesh increases facility-based child delivery.

Effect of Food Coupon Incentives on Timely Completion of DTP Immunization Series in Children from a Low- Income Area in Karachi, Pakistan

An evaluation of a voucher program to increase diptheria, tetanus, and pertussis immunization coverage in Karachi, Pakistan.

Branding in Contraceptive Social Marketing: The Pakistani Experience

An analysis of three case studies of contraceptive social marketing in Pakistan.

Improvements in Access To Malaria Treatment in Tanzania Following Community, Retail Sector and Health Facility Interventions - A User Perspective

An evaluation of two programs in southeastern Tanzania that aim to increase public understanding of malaria and increase access to malaria treatment through the private sector.

Comparison of Medicine Price and Availability Between the Public and Private Sector in Brazil and 13 African Countries.

Two separate studies compare medicine prices between the public and private sectors in Brazil and Africa.

More Publications...


The Center for Health Market Innovations

7/1/10 - CHMI, a project of Results for Development, is a “global knowledge platform that collects, analyzes, and disseminates information about Health Market Innovations. The newly launched website provides information on 400+ programs in over 100 countries.

Community-Based Health Insurance in Rwanda

5/01/10 - TDRnews reports on increases in immunization rates, bed-net usage, and skilled birth attendance in Rwanda, thanks inpart to community based-health insurance.

Social Franchising Website and Compendium

5/01/10 - An online community of practice for Social Franchising stakeholders was launched at Also available at the site are case studies of social franchise programs and a Compendium of 40 social franchise programs around the world, with data on services, volumes, & funding.

Global Health Council and R4D Hold Session on the Role of the Private Sector in Developing World Healthcare

4/30/10 - The Global Health Council and Results for Development (R4D) convened a session on the positive and negative aspects of the private sector in mixed health systems in the developing world. A blog report of the session is available online from R4D alongside presentations delivered by several panelists including representatives from the World Bank and USAID.

Report on Output Based Aid Released by the World Bank

3/31/10 - Output-Based Aid: Lessons Learned and Best Practices, a new World Bank report, details the experience of over 200 output-based aid projects across six sectors.The health section details World Bank projects including: a reproductive health voucher programs in Uganda, a new public-private partnership hospital in Lesotho, and a maternal and child health insurance scheme in Argentina. The report additionally provides a information on the funding, targeting, performance risk, and monitoring of different output- based aid projects. Link

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