Engagement of private healthcare sector in addressing noncommunicable diseases at primary care level in the Eastern Mediterranean Region

Meesha Iqbal, Romaina Iqbal, Sameen Siddiqi, Slim Slama, Pyi Pyi Phyo, Aya Thabet, Asmus Hammerich, Hicham El Berri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The private healthcare sector is a critical stakeholder in the provision of health care services, including noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), and engagement with the sector is increasingly being advocated in efforts to achieve Universal Health Coverage. Aim: This study was conducted to explore the role of the private health sector in delivering NCD-related primary care services in selected countries of the WHO Eastern Mediterranean Region (EMR): Jordan, Oman, Pakistan, Sudan, and the Syrian Arab Republic. Methods: We adapted the analytical framework for this study from the “Framework for action to implement the United Nations political declaration on noncommunicable diseases”. We conducted a desk review to gather evidence, identify gaps and provide direction for the subsequent stakeholder interviews. Key informant interview respondents were selected using the snowball sampling method. Data from the interviews were analysed using MAXQDA, version 2020. Results: We reviewed 26 documents and interviewed 19 stakeholders in Jordan, Oman, Pakistan, Sudan and the Syrian Arab Republic. Our results indicated increasing advocacy at the regional and national levels to align the private and public health sectors, just as there were efforts to reduce the risk factors for NCDs by implementing tobacco laws, introducing food labelling guidelines, increasing taxes on soft drinks, and promoting the healthy cities approach. NCDs health information systems varied widely among the countries, from being organized and developed to having poor record-keeping. The private health sector is the predominant provider of care at primary level in most of the EMR countries. Conclusion: Increased collaboration between the public and private sectors is essential for better management of NCDs in the EMR. Governments need to strengthen regulation and defragment the private health sector and harness the sector’s strengths as part of efforts to achieve national health targets, NCD goals and Universal Health Coverage.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)333-343
Number of pages11
JournalEastern Mediterranean Health Journal
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2024


  • Eastern Mediterranean
  • noncommunicable disease
  • primary health care
  • private sector
  • Universal Health Coverage


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