Want a PPP partner? Provide incentives, make 'money' business case

Laboratory staff in Myanmar check blood samples for malaria. An expert with a health consortium tells Devex how her organization tapped the private sector to help contain the spread of drug-resistant malaria in the country. Photo by: Marie-Theres Benner / ECHO / CC BY-ND

The role of business in addressing development challenges is growing, and changing — but how do you get a particular company to say “yes” to a public-private partnership?

One way to win that partner is to provide incentives, Kyi Minn, World Vision regional advisor for health nutrition and HIV and AIDS in East Asia, said during a breakout session at the first Devex Partnerships Forum in Manila.

Last November, the Myanmar Health and Development Consortium — which Minn co-founded with other health and development experts — organized a forum to engage private companies in containing the alarming spread of drug-resistant malaria in the country.

That meeting bore fruit, as several firms working in the sectors of health, trading, pharmaceuticals and infrastructure agreed to work with public health providers in monitoring the disease and setting up facilities where their employees can have access to quality malaria drugs, among other initiatives.

In exchange, the country's Ministry of Health will provide these companies "free" artemisinin-combination therapy (an effective anti-malaria treatment) for their employees and educate staff on available prevention measures, such as indoor residual spraying and insecticide-treated mosquito nets.

Explaining malaria's impact on companies' bottom line also helped, Minn told Devex. His argument to businesses: "You make more profit if your employees are healthy. If employees are sick, [your] business will not grow."

Now it’s time to test if the PPP in fact works, as the forum is expected to check the status of malaria resistance to ACT later this year.

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About the author

  • Jenny Lei Ravelo

    Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.

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