Strengthening Health Outcomes through the Private Sectors (SHOPS) Project (October 2013).
The SHOPS project collaborated with the public and private sectors in Namibia – the first country to cover voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) through private health insurance – to standardize the private-sector fee for VMMC and train health care providers, with the aim of increasing opportunities for and access to VMMC through the private sector. With approval from the Ministry of Health and Social Services (MOHSS), the SHOPS project worked with actuaries to conduct a cost analysis of VMMC, using an activity-based costing method. The Namibia Association of Medical Aid Funds (NAMAF), regulators of the private health insurance industry, recommended in 2012 that private insurance companies include the fee; by January 2013, nine of 10 insurers opted for its inclusion. The SHOPS project and MOHSS invested in a VMMC training program for private providers to ensure quality and standardize VMMC provision. In next steps, SHOPS will give the curriculum to local training partners to allow flexibility and ensure consistency, and will establish linkages between NAMAF and MOHSS to create a reporting system. While the adoption of the fee for VMMC by most private health insurances is an important step for scale-up, it may be necessary to enhance demand creation to complement the supply-side investment. The success of the fee-standardization initiative illustrates how private-sector resources can be leveraged to help sustain donor-funded projects.