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Public private partnerships in nutrition education: policy and evidence from Turkey and the European Union

Vatansever, Selin
Health promotion and nutrition policies gained increased prevalence in public health as a result of the neoliberal transformation in both the EU countries and in Turkey over the last three decades. To better understand the nature and implications of these transformations in public health, this thesis focussed on the development of public private partnerships (PPPs) in the implementation of nutrition policies in the EU member states and Turkey. The research found that PPPs were widely used to implement nutrition programs in both the EU countries and in Turkey. The PPPs aimed at public education programs faired more strongly in Turkish case compared with those in the EU countries that included a wider variety partnership such as product distribution. Concise fieldwork conducted for the Turkish case of the research in Ankara and Istanbul with representatives of public and private sector representatives of PPPs revealed important findings. Partnerships were initiated by private sector representatives who applied to the Ministry of Education to organise public education programs about nutrition at schools. According to the representatives of the private sector, partnerships with the public sector allow them to fulfil their “social responsibilities”, increase the visibility of their brand mark and enhance customer loyalty for these products. According to public authorities, the most important benefit of partnerships with the private sector is the funding provided for the implementation of nutrition programs. In addition to funding, representatives of the Ministry also mention that training provided by the private sector to school teachers about nutrition is another benefit of the programs. Both parties voiced their concerns about the possible conflict of interests in the programs and expressed measures they took to prevent them. The research also showed that Turkey had a remarkable experience regarding the public-private partnerships in nutrition policies; however; a guideline indicating the principals of partnerships should be developed for future programmes.