This website is organized around the five key phases involved in a private health sector assessment.
You can navigate each Phase and its steps from the side menu to learn more. You can also access interview guides for specific stakeholder groups, and review other resources to guide the assessment process, such as typical team composition and roles.
The purpose of the planning phase is to design and prepare for the assessment. Conducting an assessment is typically the first stage of a larger effort to engage the private sector and raise awareness about its potential contribution to advancing national health goals. As such, the planning phase is the first opportunity to reach out to stakeholders and build relationships. Your goal should be to get a sense of the key actors and local dynamics, begin to make connections, and identify ways to build support for the action phase.
The learning phase—especially the fieldwork step—is the cornerstone of the assessment process. Building on a comprehensive desk review, supported by secondary data analysis, the team synthesizes available information to further refine the approach and focus of in-country data collection. Fieldwork consists of interviews with local stakeholders, and site visits to address information gaps and gather insights and perceptions from multiple perspectives on the role of the private health sector. Before leaving the country, the team typically debriefs key stakeholders, sharing preliminary findings and recommendations.
Information gathered in this phase should answer these questions:
- What are pressing public health concerns in the country? How does the public health sector view the contributions of the private health sector?
- Who comprises the private health sector? What services do they provide and to whom?
- What strategic health areas can and should the private sector expand into?
- What are the main barriers to private sector expansion?
A private sector assessment is an analytic endeavor, examining quantitative and qualitative data to increase knowledge about the private health sector. In the analytic phase, the team organizes and examines the information amassed, to develop a clear understanding of the role of the private health sector. Following this step, the team undertakes further analysis to identify key issues, constraints, and potential solutions. The findings inform recommendations that balance opportunities with the realities of context, available funding and political will. The steps in this phase culminate in a draft report, which undergoes a quality assurance review before becoming the “master draft” that is sent to external reviewers and local stakeholders for validation and feedback.
During the sharing phase, the team draws on external reviewers to strengthen and finalize the assessment report. The team may also seek input from local stakeholders to ensure the validity of the findings and recommendations. Increasingly this has been accomplished through in-country consultations with a cross-section of stakeholders that participated in the assessment. After feedback has been received and changes incorporated, the report is published—ideally shared (electronically) with all stakeholders and made available on a website. All notes and documents related to the assessment are archived for easy retrieval.
The purpose of the action phase is to put the assessment’s findings and recommendations into practice. At a minimum, this may mean encouraging local actors to follow through on plans discussed at the in-country validation meeting. For assessments conducted with the goal of informing a broader health initiative, this phase will include program design and laying the groundwork for implementation.
The action phase has three main steps, each shaped by assessment findings and recommendations, donor goals and available resources, and local stakeholder capacity. Unlike other phases in the assessment process, these are sometimes iterative, rather than sequential.