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Establishing a Public Private Partnership Policy, West Bengal
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Subject Area="Public / private partnership (including NGOs)." Objective="Policy development."
Details for Reform Option "Establishing a Public Private Partnership Policy, West Bengal"

Background: Following the successful collaboration with the private sector in running a number of services (such as outsourcing of non-clinical services, installation of CT scan machines at government medical colleges by private agencies, NGOs running medical services in remote areas, NGO partnerships in AIDS Prevention and Control Programmes), the Government of West Bengal has made it its policy to encourage public-private partnership within the health sector wherever it is cost-effective and beneficial to improving health for all. Action: The National Health Policy 2002 states: “In principle, this policy welcomes the participation of the private sector in all areas of health activities – primary, secondary or tertiary.” The policy includes not just private sector companies but also non-government organisations (NGOs), community based organisations (CBOs), Panchayat Raj institutions (PRIs) and other interested parties from civil society. To this end, the Department of Health & Family Welfare (DoHFW) has established a dedicated Strategic Planning and Sector Reform Cell (SPSRC). A policy for public private partnerships in the health sector has been drafted by the SPSRC and is posted on the website inviting comments. Regular advertisements are placed in the local media encouraging private agencies to suggest new services and collaborations. Proposed new areas of PPP include: (i) Establishment of a private medical college. (ii) Establishment of a dental college. (iii) Dialysis units in tertiary level hospitals. (iv) Three mechanised laundry units for hospitals in Kolkata. (v) Establishment of a cancer hospital. (vi) Sale of fair-priced quality drugs, contraceptives etc through socially franchised private shops in block primary health centres and rural hospitals. (v) Outsourcing the management of selected non-functioning primary health centres. (vi) Emergency transport network: management of vehicles for emergency transport in BHPCs and PHCs through NGOs/CBOs/Trusts etc.

Cost Still to be finalised. Approaches which do not bring an additional financial burden to DH&FW are to be given preference – however care will be taken to make sure partnerships deliver value for money and a robust and transparent process for assessing this will be adopted.
Place West Bengal.
Time Frame Ongoing process.

Mutually beneficial: Helps the Government tackle its resource constraints and allows the private sector to make optimum use of its facilities. Increased accessibility: The community gets better access to quality healthcare services at a relatively low cost to the public sector. Community ownership: In the case of using PRIs, CBOs and NGOs, helps put healthcare back into the hands of the community itself.


Possible opposition: From political parties and the community who fear health services will no longer be free-of-charge. Also from other local private competitors.


Political will. A robust and transparent process for awarding contracts. A similarly robust and transparent process for assessing the value for money of each project.

Who needs to be consulted

State Government. Private agencies. The community.



Sustainable if the political will is there and the private partner is able to deliver the quality healthcare service it promises.

Chances of Replication

Replicable most states can show examples of successful PPP projects – see other PROD entries in this sector domain.


Extensive advocacy measures are required for its successful implementation.


Submitted By

Clare Kitchen, Research Consultant, ECTA, New Delhi. November 2004.

Status Active
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