The role of private sector in public health

April 23, 2020, by Aarin Palomares, Deputy Director, Global Handwashing Partnership (FHI 360)


There is often a misconception that the private sector has no role in public health. However, the private sector can be a valuable partner in addressing poverty, injustice, and inequality around the world. Especially in times of crisis, companies work in tandem with governments, public authorities, and other stakeholders to address public health issues and support sustainable systems.

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has created a humanitarian and economic crisis and provides a call to action for stronger and more resilient public health systems. Government leadership is crucial – that we know. However, companies and civil society organizations also play a vital role in working together to respond to this immediate crisis. For two years, I have worked for a public-private partnership housed at FHI 360. Private sector engagement, especially through public-private partnerships like the Global Handwashing Partnership, can play a significant role in developing both immediate and long-term solutions.