In a recent article we published in the Stanford Social Innovation Review, we examined the cooperation between public and private sectors to distribute essential health products in Taiwan and South Korea during the early phase of the COVID-19 crisis.
In the early stages of the pandemic, governments in Taiwan and South Korea launched efforts that included strong collaboration with private enterprises to ensure widespread and fast access to essential health products. Joint efforts addressed three major areas of crisis response to the wide-scale provision of health products:
- Ramping up manufacturing volume. Governments can place large product orders allowing manufacturers to increase production in a predictable way which minimizes risk. The Taiwanese government promised to purchase 50 percent of all locally manufactured masks, purchasing additional machinery for private manufacturers in exchange for 1.2 million free masks and ability to purchase 2.8 million additional masks at the agreed-upon price.
- Changing policies to ensure widespread consumer access. By updating or issuing new regulations, governments can ensure health products are distributed equally, quickly and efficiently. In the initial phase of COVID-19 pandemic when the scale-up of mask production was underway, governments in Taiwan and South Korea mandated the number of masks that could be sold to each individual every week to reduce inequities in access and optimize widespread use of masks.
- Optimizing and coordinating distribution. Collaborating with community outlets and providing businesses and consumers with insight into government stocks ensured that products were distributed safely and efficiently. The Taiwanese government created the “Health Care Express App – eMask” which allowed users to pick-up pre-ordered masks at chosen convenience stores in the neighbourhood.
Our findings suggested that quick action can be enabled by creative cooperation between governments and private companies.
To read more, click here to read the article on SSIR.org.