Right to Sight (RTS) partnered with a NGO Lions Aravinda Institute of Community Ophthalmology (LAICO) and Shalina private-for-profit company, to deliver affordable and sustainable eye care in Democratic Republic of Congo.
Right to Sight (RTS) had raised USD 200,000 to jump start this private-private partnership (PPP) model based initiative. It will eventually mobilized more than USD 1.5 million from a private company and a range of other contributions. The Irish organization will make sure for an eye care service sustainable and affordable in a long run in DRC.
These three private partners got together to establish an eye-care health centre in Katanga, DRC which began operations in 2007. There was a considerably chaper charge for people accessing eye care services from this centre to meet operational costs and make the initiative sustainable.
Another important aspect of this initiative that needs a mention is that it had built capacities and competencies of local healthcare providers in DRC to run this eye care centre. The expat-to-local human resource ratio has been 1:6 with 5 expats to 30 DRC citizens who are part of the team at this centre and considerable knowledge transfer and sharing of skills take place between them.
RTS worked with the Aravinda Eye Care System (AECS) which is the largest eye care provider in the world with a renowned service delivery model. It has a facility for manufacturing high quality ophthalmic products at low cost.
The DRC-based private-for-profit partner of this initiative, Shalina, plans to expand this private-private partnership model of eye care delivery to 18 African countries with six centres planned in DRC as well.
These examples of private-private partnerships give hope particularly to countries like India and Cambodia. If people can access quality healthcare without delay it is likely to have a very positive outcome on public health.