Engagement of private healthcare sector in reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health in selected Eastern Mediterranean countries

Meesha Iqbal, Anam Shahil Feroz, Khalid Siddeeg, Karima Gholbzouri, Jamela Al-Raiby, Nilmini Hemachandra, Sarah Saleem, Sameen Siddiqi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The private healthcare sector in the Eastern Mediterranean Region (EMR) is active and growing, providing curative, preventive, and promotive services related to reproductive, maternal, newborn, child, and adolescent health (RMNCAH). Aims: To understand the contribution of formal for-profit private health-care sector in delivering RMNCAH services and explore best practices for improvement. Methods: Desk review of available literature from Saudi Arabia, Oman, Iraq, Egypt, Sudan, Yemen, Pakistan, and Islamic Republic of Iran, followed by stakeholder interviews in Iraq, Pakistan, and Oman were carried out. Directed content analysis using Maxqda 2020 was performed, and information was triangulated according to a priori themes: governance, health information systems, financing, and service delivery related to RMNCAH. Results: Formal and informal public–private partnerships exist in RMNCAH but lack a strategic roadmap to guide col-laboration. The private healthcare sector is minimally represented in the main policy stream at national and subnational levels due to resistance from the private and public sectors. They are weak in collecting, maintaining, and sharing health information. Data on abortion and postabortion complications are scarce. Various models of supply and demand financing (voucher schemes, private and social health insurance) related to antenatal care and contraception have been imple-mented in the EMR. Despite the higher cost of care in the private sector, limited training of providers, ill-defined service delivery packages, and lack of continuity-of-care and team-based approaches, the private sector remains the predominant sector providing RMNCAH services in the EMR. Conclusion: Partnering with the private sector has huge untapped potential that should be harnessed by national govern-ments for expanding RMNCAH services and progressing towards Universal Health Coverage.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)638-648
Number of pages11
JournalEastern Mediterranean Health Journal
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2022


  • child and adolescent health
  • maternal health
  • newborn health
  • private healthcare
  • reproductive health


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