In many developing countries, the private health sector is growing and provides essential health services even for the poor. The owners of health care businesses in these countries are often clinicians who have little prior business experience and limited management acumen. This poses a challenge for smaller facilities that cannot afford to hire a professional business manager. Out of necessity, these business owners end up performing the dual role of health practitioner and business manager. While some are adept at combining these two skill sets, many others struggle. Lack of business management capacity has been linked to low levels of access to finance, poor quality of care and the inability of the private health sector to grow.
Managerial Capital: The Missing Link
Managerial capital, otherwise known as business and financial literacy, involves the business competencies needed to run and grow a successful business. Managerial capital is based on an individual’s capability to effectively manage an organization, people, processes, and resources, as well as to interact with the external business environment. Private health professionals need to find ways to handle ever-increasing and complex relationships with regulators, health insurance providers, suppliers of products and equipment, and banks. In addition, they need to make themselves known and attractive to potential customers, while keeping abreast of their competition and the changing medical and technological environment. These are not small challenges.
The Business for Health Training Program
Working under the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded Strengthening Health Outcomes through the Private Sector project (SHOPS), Banyan Global developed the Business for Health Training Program to address these constraints. The program consists of 22 training modules that build skills in key business competencies, including general management, operations, marketing, quality management, and finance. The target audience for this program includes the owners and managers of private clinics and health facilities who want to improve the effectiveness and profitability of their private practices.
“I learned that quality is not just the right thing to do but it makes good business sense.”
–participant at the pilot of Business for Health in Kenya
This training program has been pilot tested and is in the process of being rolled out in several locations in Kenya under the SHOPS project. The Business for Health program is designed to be delivered in an interactive setting by a trained facilitator and is easily adaptable to different country contexts. The full set of training materials, including facilitator guides, participant materials, pre- and post-tests, and PowerPoint slides are available online. Learn more about Business for Health.