Table 1

Advantages of PPPs suggested by authors who support this strategy

Types of argumentsQuotations from reviewed papers*
Threats to health cannot be tackled by governments alone
  • Considering the growing severity of issues such as childhood obesity and rising healthcare costs, neither the public nor the private sector can address the issues alone but must do so jointly.12

  • The WHO cannot tackle the immense threats to health - such as poverty - alone and through the health system. It needs strong partnerships between public bodies, civil society and the private sector, to make health everybody's business. Acting as an initiator, catalyst and honest broker for health partnerships must become a dominant function of the WHO's work.32 Public health agencies rarely have the resources needed to implement full and comprehensive programmes to address the main health issues. They run the risk of becoming irrelevant in addressing the leading causes of death and disability if they do not engage with the private sector to overcome the increasing gap in resources.40

  • Effective partnerships are associated with35: (1) sharing ideas, in kind or with financial resources, advocacy expertise and specialised skills; (2) accessing distribution systems; (3) coordinating activities to reduce duplication of efforts; (4) accessing client perspectives; (5) reaching populations to conduct larger scale and higher risk activities than any one partner could achieve on its own.

  • The following trends underscore the need to partner with the business sector: (1)the public's health has become big business; (2) there will be less money for public health programmes; and (3) there is an increasing need for public health professionals but a shortage of workers.40

PPPs enrich the capacity, quality and reach of public health services. Industries can benefit from public health service expertise
  • Industry-sponsored healthy lifestyle initiatives leverage extensive resources and diverse expertise, and have the capacity to reach millions of consumers through diverse marketing channels and media platforms.34

  • The private sector provides important and high-quality data on disease/health-related practices and consumer behaviours.23

  • Industries’ emphasis on personal responsibility places them in a propitious position to promote responsible behaviour.20

  • Industry could allow its vast distribution resources to be used to deliver not just alcohol products but also condoms and educational materials to the drinking establishments they serve; in short, at the point of greatest vulnerability to infection due to the influence of alcohol use.20

  • Partnerships with businesses can potentially address specific cost and investment challenges; improve the efficiency and quality of service delivery through sophisticated distribution systems; and provide public sector stakeholders and NGOs with access to financial and in kind resources, influential networks, communications expertise and technology transfer.33

  • PPPs provide new opportunities for health creation and for putting across health messages.33

  • PPPs provide corporations with the opportunity to benefit from the expertise of public health services in promoting employees’ health.40

PPPs help to put health in all policies
  • By putting health on the agenda of other actors/sectors, the health sector can significantly increase social momentum for health improvement.32

  • PPPs allow for a wide ownership of health throughout society and have added a new dimension to intersectoral action for health.32

  • PPPs work across public and private sectors, bringing in new partners and integrating solutions along the continuum of all sectors involved in particular health issues.32

  • Private initiatives, from a large variety of industrial sectors create employment, generate income, produce a vast array of goods and services, and, in this way, are also crucial to sustainable, long-term food and nutrition security.15

PPPs improve self-regulation
  • Companies and governments can work together to monitor code implementation and address alleged violations.50

  • Government–industry partnerships have the potential to boost the efficacy of industry self-regulation.43

  • PPPs allow government and industry to assess mutual needs and to build mutual trust that could foster the development of ‘best practices’ codes for production and marketing.53

  • PPPs could create shared values as a business ethos that may afford opportunities for companies to prioritise their impact on population nutrition through core business practices.16

Reducing unhealthful products and improving the quality of products
  • PPPs promote sustainable business models that allow innovation in more healthful design and content of products.52

  • Government agencies may help companies by providing them with increased sales in substitute products that will mitigate the economic effects of complying with the guidelines.43

  • *Some quotations have been abridged for inclusion in the table.

  • NGO, non-governmental organisation; PPP, public–private partnership.