Non Governmental Organizations

NGOs and other Not-For-Profit Private Providers

NGOs are important providers of healthcare services in many developing countries, particularly in Africa. NGOs in a number of countries behave much like extensions of governmental health systems: faith based NGOs in Africa are large and integrated into many national health systems; NGOs in a number of Latin American countries are contracted to provide health services on behalf of government.

Outside of this group, large numbers of health-focused NGOs work on advocacy, charity care, or other important areas which do not share the same incentives, concerns, and opportunities as for-profit health providers.

As a result of these two issues - quasi-governmental operation and non-market-incentives - NGOs as a group are not addressed in our definition of “private sector” for this website.

This website focuses on the for-profit-private sector and on NGOs that apply market mechanisms to their work. These NGOs behave to some extent like for-profit entities, and many are actively working with the for-profit private sector for a variety of reasons. Given the importance and paucity of information regarding the for-profit private sector, we feel this focus fills an important gap in knowledge.

We look forward to adding pages specific to NGO activities in the future, which will look beyond the application of market-mechanisms.