Leveraging private sector resources to support integrated health service delivery in Burundi

Panagora is leading the public-private partnership (PPP) initiative on USAID’s Integrated Health Project in Burundi. IHPB is helping the Government of Burundi, communities, and civil society organizations improve health status in three provinces, Karusi, Kayanza Kirundo and Muyinga, by increasing capacity and strengthening integrated health systems, services, and communications across facilities and communities. As the small business subcontractor to FHI360 on this five-year project, we are quite proud that Panagora staff successfully met all year one (calendar 2014) PPP targets in eight months of performance.

Our two Burundian long-term PPP staff, led by short-term international private sector health expert, Mbaye Khouma, completed an assessment of the private sector, prepared a strategy to guide PPPs focused on leveraging African private sector resources for additive health care, and negotiated, finalized and brought to signature two PPPs. An additional PPP is under negotiation, and we have identified many others that will be developed in IHPB’s out-years.

Throughout, Panagora staff worked collaboratively with the IHPB team, in particular Chief of Party Martin Ngabonziza, Deputy Chief of Party Abdalla Meftuh, to ensure a close fit between project objectives and targeted PPPs. Together with IHPB’s technical specialists, malaria and HIV/AIDS were identified as top priorities for PPPs.

The first two signed PPPs are with LEO Burundi, the leading telecommunications company in the country, and the second largest company in the country. These PPPs focus on malaria which is the primary cause of morbidity and mortality in Burundi, with pregnant women and children under the age of 5 the most vulnerable. Both PPPs are located in Kirundo Province whose many lakes create high malaria risk but where insecticide-treated net (ITN) penetration and usage are the lowest in the country. ITNs, a proven malaria prevention method, are often not properly used even when available due to lack of understanding of their importance and role in preventing malaria.

The PPPs with LEO Burundi leverage information and communication tools (ICT) to tackle the critical need to create better understanding and use of ITNs. One PPP mobilizes high school students in Kirundo Province to act as ambassadors and agents of change within their families and communities promoting the use of ITNs. LEO Burundi is providing 100 phones and SIM cards so that IHBP can reach students with free behavior change communication messaging and mobilize them to encourage the use of ITNs in their families and communities.

Through the other PPP, Community Health Workers (CHWs) will receive 600 free solar charging phones, along with free weekly SMS to improve their ability to advocate, monitor, and report on ITN use as well as other malaria control and treatment activities among their clients.

Three other PPPs on HIV/AIDS are well advanced, one with a major oil and gas company in Burundi for a program on HIV/AIDS prevention targeting cross-border and long haul drivers; one with a major Burundian beverage company to promote protection among female sex workers; and one with an new telecommunications company focusing on HIV/AIDS and reproductive health messaging in high schools to prevent infection and unwanted pregnancies.  

“Panagora is excited to play an integral role in supporting IHPB in this important cross-cutting area and leverage private sector resources to maximize positive health outcomes for Burundians,” said Panagora’s President and CEO, Betsy Bassan. Bio-sketches for our IHPB Burundian staff, PPP Advisor Josephine and PPP Specialist Eraste Nzeyimana, and our international private sector health specialist, Mbaye Khouma, can be found here.


Mother and child lay under an Insecticide Treated Net (ITN)