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Increasing Quality and Access to Oral Health Care through Public-Private Partnerships

H Mosha


Partneships signifies a legal relationship between two or more entities contractually associated as joint principles in a business. Public Pivate Partneship for health (PPPH), involves two or more entities from the public and private sectors that engage in a joint endeavour to achieve common health goals and objectives. The goal for the PPPH is to contribute to the strengthening of the National Health System with the capabilities and full participation of the Private Health Sector to maximize attainment of the national health goals. This paper looks at how quality and access to OHC through PPPH, can be attained by contracting private dentists to provide OHCS in public health facilities. Contracted dentists refer to private dentists who provide dental services, on behalf of the health facility (HF), to health facility patients, either in the dentists' private clinic or in a dedicated space located within the health facility. When contracting, dentists and health facility may elect to contract based on the specific services provided; number of patients to be seen; number of visits available to HF patients; number of sessions to be committed to HF patients; or any other mutually agreeable basis.
Currently private practitioners are regarded as partners in the provision of OHC services rather than competitors and the role of the government is to provide a conducive environment for establishing private practice. By contracting private dentists, it can increase access and quality of OHCS provided to underserved groups in the rural health facilities in a manner that is consistent with applicable health facility policies and procedures. Public Private Partneships provides opportunity for looking at health in a comprehensive way. It is built on the strength of organizations allowing them to pool resources, avoid duplication and minimize impact. It encourages the involvement of communities in their health care and focus attention on neglected health problems, attracts new resources and use them efficiently and fill service gaps and increase access to underserved groups. Therefore increasing access to quality OHC services in the rural areas can be attained through contracting private dentists to provide OHC services in PHC facilities in these areas.