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[Series] Performance of private sector health care: implications for universal health coverage

Although the private sector is an important health-care provider in many low-income and middle-income countries, its role in progress towards universal health coverage varies. Studies of the performance of the private sector have focused on three main dimensions: quality, equity of access, and efficiency. The characteristics of patients, the structures of both the public and private sectors, and the regulation of the sector influence the types of health services delivered, and outcomes. Combined with characteristics of private providers—including their size, objectives, and technical competence—the interaction of these factors affects how the sector performs in different contexts.