2019 GBCHealth Year in Review

Ian MatthewsNews

2019 was a fast paced and exciting year for GBCHealth; we achieved exciting milestones, such as co-hosting the Africa Business: Health Forum, publishing two reports and a book, launching ABCHealth, signing an Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC) with the Global Fund, co-hosting three events during UNGA, collaborating with UNAIDs to reignite the business response to HIV/AIDS, and much more.

A new chapter for the Global Fund Private Sector Delegation

On the sidelines of the World Economic Forum on Africa in September, GBCHealth signed a Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) with the Global Fund on supply chain management. The MoC signals an important development in the relationship between the private sector and the Global Fund, creating a mechanism by which companies can contribute their knowledge and expertise towards resolving critical issues along the entire supply chain – from warehouse management to consumer insights. The remit of the MoC will expand over time, allowing for new types of partnerships to develop as opportunities are identified.

GBCHealth President Nancy Wildfeir-Field commented on the partnership, saying  “We believe this partnership creates new avenues for companies to tap into some of their core competencies and step up the fight against AIDS, TB and malaria.” GBCHealth looks forward to operationalizing the MoC in 2020, harnessing its wider network to bring new voices and innovations to the work of the Global Fund.

In October, the Global Fund held its Sixth Replenishment Conference in Lyon, France, resulting in over USD 14 billion raised for 2020-2022. The PSD was integral in shaping the official private sector side event in advance of the Replenishment, which provided a platform for companies to discuss the advances in and commitment to innovation in the fight against AIDS, TB and malaria; financial and in-kind contributions to the Global Fund for the next period; and new industry partnerships around technology, communications and financial services. In total, the private sector made an unprecedented pledge of over USD 1 billion to the Sixth Replenishment.

This spring saw the appointment of a new PSD Board member and Alternate for the 2019-2021 term. Sherwin Charles, CEO of Goodbye Malaria, was elected the Board member, and brings the understanding that comes with being both a donor and an implementer. Paul Schaper, Executive Director of Global Health Policy at Merck and Co., Inc., was elected Alternate Board member, who brings complementary institutional knowledge having been involved with the constituency for many years.

After 17 years of service, the Global Fund said goodbye to Brian Brink as Chair of the Donor Group and Board member emeritus of the Private Sector Delegation. Brian was involved in tackling HIV/AIDS since the beginning of the epidemic, and was a pioneer and leader in enhancing the role of private sector in improving access to sustainable, quality healthcare in developing countries. The role of Donor Group Chair will still be represented by the private sector, as Paul Schaper began his term in November of this year.

During Congressional appropriations season, GBCHealth continued its strong advocacy work, partnering with Friends of the Global Fight to host an advocacy day for PSD members on Capitol Hill. The group met directly with key lawmakers to discuss the critical importance of increasing the United States’ contribution to the Global Fund in the Sixth Replenishment, as US investment in the Global Fund leverages funding from other public donors. Private sector partners used their voice to reiterate that the Global Fund has maintained broad bipartisan support because it has consistently demonstrated concrete progress in saving lives. GBCHealth also helped facilitate the signing of an open letter by 22 companies to Congressional leadership, thanking them for their leadership in U.S. global health efforts and encouraging continued support for the Global Fund.

GBCHealth has served as the official Focal Point to the PSD since 2006, and was reappointed again this year. In 2019, the PSD welcomed three new members to the group: IQVIA, SC Johnson, and Ipca Laboratories. These companies bring new and exciting capabilities to the constituency, including expertise in technology and analytics, health systems strengthening, vector control, supply chain, and much more.

GBCHealth is looking forward to working with all members of the PSD to continue bringing expertise, best practices and new partners to the Global Fund in 2020 and beyond.

CAMA providing national leadership

It’s also been an exciting year for the Corporate Alliance on Malaria in Africa (CAMA), a GBCHealth-led initiative to drive partnerships for malaria control and elimination.

CAMA has been collaborating with the National Malaria Elimination Program (NMEP) and the Ministry of Health in Nigeria to convene a high-level forum for a national dialogue on malaria. This milestone meeting is projected for April 2020. Concurrently CAMA is working with Aliko Dangote Foundation (ADF) to establish a private sector unit within the NMEP. Further, CAMA continues to help shape national strategy on malaria and sits on an expert panel, which was pulled together by the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Health, to review and provide feedback on the current implementation model of malaria control in the country.

On World Malaria Day 2019 (April 25th) CAMA published an op-ed which called on stakeholders to redouble efforts, resources, and commitments to ending malaria. Then, for World Mosquito Day 2019 in August, CAMA hosted a webinar on “Innovative New Approaches to Combat Malaria,” during which participants provided the latest updates on new malaria innovations such as vaccines and vector control tools, discussed progress and challenges of bringing malaria innovations to scale and highlighted current opportunities for high-impact private sector involvement. The full webinar can be found below.

CAMA continues to support its members’ malaria control initiatives in their workplaces and communities. For example, in May, CAMA supported Access Bank’s malaria community outreach program in two communities in Lagos State. The goal was to sensitize rural area dwellers about malaria prevention/control and use of malaria prevention tools. It attracted over 1000 participants. The impact was simple and clear; for example, following the event, Adekunle from Iyana Ipaja said, “My wife lost her first pregnancy due to malaria… She can protect herself with your net. Thank you for this outreach.”

CAMA also welcomed two new members this year; Consolidated Contractors Company (CCC), a leading diversified company in construction, engineering and procurement; and Vestergaard, one of the largest producers of long-lasting Insecticide-treated bet nets.

UNFPA, SWEDD & ICPD: putting young people first

The Sahel Women’s Empowerment and Demographic Dividend (SWEDD) project is a landmark multi-sectoral project where various ministries collaborate with each other for the wellbeing of girls and women. Towards the same goal, GBCHealth is engaging with the private sector (multinationals as well as small and medium size companies, foundations and regional entities) to help realize the desired outcomes and impact of the SWEDD project through both in kind and financial contributions. This has led to the development of a number of regional and international partnerships where GBCHealth plays a brokering role and has been instrumental in shaping concepts, negotiating deals and is beginning to implement and manage the partnerships.

On the sidelines of the mid-year African Union Summit, GBCHealth co-organized the SWEDD Resource Mobilization Roundtable, setting the stage for additional investments to support the extension and expansion of the program from 2021 to 2023, and from six to 11 countries in the Sahel.

During the roundtable, UNFPA Executive Director, Dr. Natalia Kanem, said that reaching the demographic dividend and the Africa we want means investing in young people, especially girls. She emphasized that “the African Union has prioritized the demographic dividend as a vehicle for sustainable development, and the continent has made great strides towards harnessing the potential of its people, especially its women and youth. Nevertheless, we need greater commitment to reduce the inequalities that continue to hinder the demographic transition and leave too many people behind.”

The roundtable garnered personal commitments from policy makers, support from technical and financial partners, and private sector commitments to mobilize human, material and financial resources for women and girls. The roundtable was a platform to illustrate the remarkable progress of the SWEDD Project, a symbol of an Africa that is progressing on the road to achieving its potential. The roundtable had the remarkable leadership of the President of Niger, Mahamadou Issoufou, who equated child marriage to pedophilia.

Later in the year, on the sidelines of the Nairobi Summit on ICPD25, GBCHealth partnered with UNFPA West and Central Africa Regional Office (WCARO) to share the compelling visual stories of hope and change through a series of advocacy activities. GBCHealth curated and developed a photography book, a photo exhibit, a mobile app, and an advertising campaign that ran in select locations throughout ICPD25, with messages amplified through a media campaign. The book and exhibit, which incorporated images from 20 West and Central African countries, provided photo essays of lives changed through improved accessibility to sexual and reproductive health education and services, and empowered local communities. You can view the book here.

GBCHealth is greatly looking forward to continue to build momentum around strategic partnerships to further support and catalyze SWEDD project outcomes, and most importantly the impact on individuals and communities.

Health and the African Business Community: ABCHealth, the Africa Business: Health Forum and the Healthcare & Economic Growth in Africa report

On February 12th, GBCHealth, Aliko Dangote Foundation (ADF) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) convened the Africa Business: Health Forum (AB:HF) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Nearly 350 delegates attended the forum – including  global political, business and philanthropic leaders such as African heads of state – which was co-sponsored by health champions Access Bank and Zenith Bank.

The launch of the African Business Coalition for Health (ABCHealth) was a high point of the Forum; an African-led coalition mobilizing private sector champions through a coordinated platform to advance health outcomes and shape health markets across Africa.

AB:HF also saw the launch of the Healthcare & Economic Growth in Africa report, a joint publication of ECA, GBCHealth and ADF, which provided the basis for much of the event discussion. The report provides an overview of the state of African health and health systems, focusing on subjects such digital technology, innovative financing strategies, and public-private partnerships (PPPs).

Speaking at the forum, ECA Executive Secretary Vera Songwe noted, “A healthy Africa is a productive Africa; a productive Africa is a prosperous Africa.” But health spending remains largely inadequate to meet the growing healthcare needs. Michel Sidibé said that change takes more than political will, it’s about political choice. And in conclusion, ABCHealth & GBCHealth co-chair Aig Aig-Imoukhuede emphasized that the power of collaborating has no boundaries.

A comprehensive, 54-page Forum Report was published which provides detailed snapshot of event proceedings, including many insightful speeches from regional leaders and detailed summaries of the key sessions on PPPs, innovation and health financing.

GBCHealth looks forward to working with ABCHealth and other partners to continue to promote an ongoing dialogue between African private and public sectors and to foster opportunities for the private sector to contribute towards the collective efforts of key stakeholders in strengthening national health systems in Africa.

Looking back and moving forward: GBCHealth going full circle

GBCHealth is working together with UNAIDS to reignite the business response to HIV/AIDS. On the sidelines of UNGA 74, UNAIDS and GBCHealth brought together business leaders to explore and identify practical business action toward ending AIDS in the workplace, as well as eliminating stigma and discrimination by 2030. For World AIDS Day on December 1st, UNAIDS and GBCHealth gathered private sector support for a joint statement demonstrating business’ commitment to ending AIDS by 2030, a starting point to galvanize renewed commitments and interest in this area as more companies proactively engage and recommit. We are also in the process of pulling together short one-page case studies on best practices.

HIV/AIDS is a foundational issue for GBCHealth, and we are excited to be jointly leading this new effort to end AIDS by 2030, actively partnering with the business community to do so. We hope that our long-term partners will join us once again in this journey and push for elimination at this important juncture.

We are looking forward to 2020, and to more opportunities to work with companies and other key stakeholders to leverage the full resources of the business community to meet today’s most pressing global health challenges. We want to thank all our partners, old and new, whose collaboration is vital to the success of our current and future initiatives.

Ian Matthews2019 GBCHealth Year in Review