The health of women and children is a linchpin for building healthy and stable societies around the world. By now we know that quality health infrastructure which adequately supports mothers delivers powerful benefits for women, children, families, communities, and countries. But today, health systems, particularly those in many low- and middle-income countries, are not sufficiently equipped to achieve the ambitious
global agenda and SDG targets for Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child, and Adolescent Health (RMNCAH).
Funding is one part of the problem. While international RMNCAH funding accounts for approximately half of total development assistance for global health, an estimated annual funding deficit of more than $30 billion remains and pressure on foreign aid budgets in donor countries could exacerbate this gap. Achieving good health and well-being for all will require an unprecedented expansion and diversification of financing for RMNCAH.
The global health community acknowledges that the private sector is critical to RMNCAH; not only as a source of funding, but also as a source of innovation, expertise, and business-minded best practices and models. International donors, particularly bilateral aid agencies, can and should play a leading role in catalyzing greater private sector contributions to RMNCAH and leveraging private sector capabilities. Investments in blended finance instruments, such as first-loss concessional capital, guarantees, risk insurance, and technical assistance funds, can derisk and stimulate private sector investment in RMNCAH. Direct procurement of medical goods and services from local private organizations can build
local capacity and markets. Deepening cooperation and co-investment in health interventions can maximize resources and leverage the unique
capacities of both donors and private sector partners. These collaborative approaches between donors and the private sector are the future of RMNCAH in lowand middle-income countries around the world.
Yet, our community has a long way to go if we are to successfully build the multi-sectoral partnerships that are necessary to crowd in funding for RMNCAH and capitalize on private sector capabilities. International donors are—to varying degrees—committed to private sector funding approaches, but these agencies and their implementing partners can do more to enable private sector involvement in RMNCAH. Most donors
are also failing to measure or report their private sector investments which makes it impossible to assess progress and impact.
In an effort to begin to benchmark donor investments through private sector funding approaches, Devex and MSD for Mothers researched and interviewed seven of the leading bilateral donors to RMNCAH. We also surveyed more than 500 development professionals working in RMNCAH and conducted in-depth interviews with global health organizations and experts to learn more about how to better integrate the private sector in RMNCAH in the future. We hope that this report will encourage international donors and other funders to better understand the impact of the private sector in RMNCAH and begin to more rigorously track and report investments in the future.