[Series] What is the private sector? Understanding private provision in the health systems of low-income and middle-income countries
Private health care in low-income and middle-income countries is very extensive and very heterogeneous, ranging from itinerant medicine sellers, through millions of independent practitioners—both unlicensed and licensed—to corporate hospital chains and large private insurers. Policies for universal health coverage (UHC) must address this complex private sector. However, no agreed measures exist to assess the scale and scope of the private health sector in these countries, and policy makers tasked with managing and regulating mixed health systems struggle to identify the key features of their private sectors.