On 22 November 2012, Sven Alkalaj, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and UNECE Executive Secretary, and Dr. Enrique T. Ona, Secretary of Health of the Republic of the Philippines, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) establishing the Specialist Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) Centre on Health in the Philippines. An official signing ceremony took place in Manila at the National Kidney and Transplant Institute (NKTI), where the office of the Specialist Centre is located.
On this occasion, Sven Alkalaj declared: “The Centre of Excellence in Health in the Philippines will be operating under the auspices of the global Centre of Excellence whose Secretariat is based within UNECE in Geneva. With this project, we wish to target specifically the socially and economically disadvantaged. We want to ensure that by disseminating best practices from one country to others, the weaker and more vulnerable members of our societies will benefit.”
Dr. Enrique T. Ona said: “The signature of this MoU symbolizes the institutionalization of our long-term relationship with UNECE. It is very timely in view of the current thrust of our government recognizing the essential role of the private sector in pursuing national growth and development objectives. The Centre demonstrates that PPP can be a viable instrument to bring about infrastructure development in pursuit of our ambition to achieve universal health care for all Filipinos, especially the poor.”
The NKTI has already introduced successful public-private partnerships that emerged as a solution to the scarcity of funds to furnish the hospital with state-of-the-art machines for patients suffering from end-stage renal disease. The project was undertaken through a long team lease arrangement (build-operate-transfer) with a private partner so that new and modern equipment can be acquired and housed under a new centre.
The Specialist Centre on Health is charged with the major task to identify best practice in PPP in health. By realising this mission, the Centre will become the global and focal centre on PPP in health sector internationally. The Philippines will benefit from this as well when shaping its own PPP programme for the health sector. The Centre will also help to train government officials in the new skills required to do PPP in the health sector, such as project management and private financing, which most governments lack.
The Centre will be operating under the auspices of the UNECE International Centre of Excellence whose Secretariat is based at UNECE. The UNECE International Centre will consist of a small hub in Geneva and Specialist Centres in different countries in the world responsible for specific sectors (roads, water, waste disposal, renewable energy etc.).
The overall goals of the UNECE PPP International Centre of Excellence are to:
- Identify international PPP best practice;
- Assist governments to implement best practices successfully; and
- Encourage shared learning especially between countries new to PPPs and those with mature PPP programmes.
UNECE welcomes the initiative taken by the Government of Philippines and anticipates more countries joining the UNECE International PPP Centre of Excellence and taking a lead in developing Specialist Centres in specific sectors, which are the priority for their own countries.
Through its International PPP Centre of Excellence and the Specialist Centre on Health, UNECE will continue to work closely with the Asian Development Bank and the World Health Organisation, One example of this successful cooperation was the recent joint conference on Public-Private Partnership in Health “Developing Models, Ensuring Sustainability: Perspectives from Asia and Europe”, held in Manila, from 23-25 October 2012.
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