Enhancing Public–Private Cooperation in Epidemic Preparedness and Response

Date01 December 2018
AuthorMarian Wentworth,Jonathan Quick,Rebecca Katz,Katrina Geddes,Ashish Jha,Ashley Arabasadi,Emily Harris
Published date01 December 2018
DOIhttp://doi.org/10.1002/wmh3.281
Enhancing Public–Private Cooperation in Epidemic
Preparedness and Response
Rebecca Katz, Marian Wentworth, Jonathan Quick, Ashley Arabasadi,
Emily Harris, Katrina Geddes, and Ashish Jha
The threat of epidemics and pandemics has increased as our world has become more interconnected.
Recent epidemics have highlighted the need for increased investment in preparedness and the critical
role of the private sector in health system strengthening and preparedness. Our manuscript seeks to
bring attention to and promote public–private collaboration in global health preparedness by
discussing areas on which public and private organizations can focus their efforts to improve
partnerships. It does this by expanding on themes discussed at a conference on public–private
partnerships in pandemic preparedness, Ready Together. We hope that this article will encourage
effective partnerships.
KEY WORDS: epidemic, preparedness, partnerships
Background
Our interconnected world has witnessed an increase in infectious disease
outbreaks with epidemic or pandemic potential, including the current spread of Ebola
and MERS-CoV. Yet despite clear evidence that prevention is more cost effective than
response, we remain trapped in a cycle of panic and neglect, throwing money at
disease events whenever they occur, but failing to sustain investment in preparedness
when the panic subsides (World Bank, 2017). We are now in a period of neglect, as
world leaders turn their attention to other urgent issues, and investment in vulnerable
health systems languishes (Yamey et al., 2017). The private sector, the sector that is
nongovernmental and is run for prof‌it, has a critical role to play in response to an
epidemic, but the community also needs to play a role in health system strengthening
and preparedness. In fact, we argue that sound stewardship and risk management
demands that the private sector play a role in mitigating the very real health and
economic risks associated with unpredictable, but completely expectable outbreaks.
Further, the expertise, capabilities, and resources of private sector organizations offer
signif‌icant opportunities for raising awareness, building community resilience,
strengthening disease surveillance, and capitalizing on medical innovations
World Medical & Health Policy, Vol. 10, No. 4, 2018
420
doi: 10.1002/wmh3.281
#2018 Policy Studies Organization

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