November 13, 2020

East Africa Health Policy Roundtable Sparks New Ideas

From all of us at Innovations in Healthcare, SEAD, and Africa Capacity Alliance, we’d like to thank all those that attended the recent health policy roundtable on September 18 at Strathmore Business School in Nairobi, Kenya.

We were energized by the perspectives in the room and the amount of work and thought already put into this topic by many of the participants. With over 60 attendees from healthcare social enterprises, private sector support organizations, major donors, and public sector officials one thing became clear: we all want the same thing--to see measurable improvements in health through the proliferation of sustainable, effective ideas that improve on cost, quality, or access issues across the current healthcare delivery system.  Major themes that we heard emerge from the conversation in September include:  

  • There is a learning curve: As Kenya’s devolved health system is in its third year since the transition from a centralized system, there are many areas of learning on public-private engagement. If public-private partnerships are in the interest of both private sector players and the county governments then it should not be left solely up to the county governments to figure out the way forward. The more the public and private sector work together to figure out how this should work the more both parties will benefit in the long run.
  • Invest in structure: Clearly articulating the role of each partner upfront is critical. However, being willing to revisit partnership agreements and memorandums of understanding to ensure that a partnership is benefitting both parties and effectively leveraging on the talents and resources of both partners is the most efficient way is also important. 
  • Relationships are key: Given the changes that come with a devolved system and the learning on all sides, there is a lot to be said about playing nice with others. Partnerships can go a long way if both sides try to understand where the other is coming from and if both partners continue to operate knowing that the end-game is the same. 
  • Partnerships are about more than money: Knowledge transfer and capacity building and sharing can be equally as valuable as a monetary partnership at this stage in building out more successful partnerships between the public and private health sector. Partners should not forget this when negotiating partnership agreements and be willing to get creative about how partner organizations can provide value. 

Do you feel like you have a valuable perspective on this topic and interested in getting involved? Great!  Please take a moment to fill out this short survey:

 We plan to use the input from this survey to help shape a short policy brief that will summarize work on this topic by others that preceded our roundtabl and Identify core elements of an engagement framework for health innovators and public officials 

We look forward to staying in touch, continuing to compile feedback and lessons on this topic, and playing a role in fostering more successful partnerships in the future. 


If you have any questions about the health policy roundtable or follow-on work on this topic please reach out to our East Africa Project Associate, Sylvia Sable at