The Global Fund’s Innovation Coalition: Turning Challenges into Opportunities

Nisa PatelArticle

The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria recently launched the Innovation Coalition, a global, multi-sector partnership platform designed to draw on the innovations, creative energy and solution-oriented approaches of private sector companies, academia and civil society to help solve some of the recurring challenges encountered by Global Fund grant recipients. The Innovation Coalition will identify high-impact opportunities to strengthen grant performance, determine how private sector collaboration can unlock effective solutions, and pilot these innovative approaches together with multi-sector partners.

Leading private sector companies from across industries, including consumer goods, healthcare and pharmaceutical products, transportation, logistics, insurance, banking, and information and communication technology, have already joined the Innovation Coalition.

Innovation Coalition in Action
The Innovation Coalition was officially launched in early December 2013 at a reception for the Global Fund’s Fourth Replenishment. The first partnership announced under the platform was the ‘Principal Recipient (PR) Dashboard’ project (also referred to as ‘the grant management dashboard’), co-developed by Grant Management Solutions (GMS), SAP AG (Germany) and the Global Fund and now in a pilot phase in six countries. The PR Dashboard aims to enable grant recipients to optimize grant management and performance by visualizing and comparing data and indicators and making better informed and timelier decisions. 


Innovation Coalition

Mutual benefits for the private sector and the Global Fund

Since the Global Fund’s inception, the private sector has worked with the Global Fund in many different roles: as a donor, technical services provider, implementing partner, and more. The Innovation Coalition now brings new opportunities for win-win partnerships that bring mutual benefits and value to both private sector partners and to the Global Fund, while addressing HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria and saving lives.

Private Sector Opportunities under the Innovation Coalition Platform

For 2014 the Innovation Coalition identified three focus areas, based on risk assessments of the Global Fund’s entire grant portfolio and consultations with partners, technical agencies and implementers around the world. Private sector companies can partner on one or more of these priority issues, based on expertise and business strategy.

  1. Procurement and Supply Chain Management (PSM): Companies partnering with the Global Fund will work to improve the delivery of lifesaving drugs by strengthening supply chain, optimizing purchasing and storage and ensuring proper quality assurance to address supply chain management inefficiencies. The workstream addresses two main PSM challenges faced by Global Fund programs: treatment disruptions and substandard quality of health products. By working with the Innovation Coalition under this workstream, companies can help:
    • improve availability and flow of consumption data and stock level to strengthen outbound logistics.
    • strengthen “last mile” distribution and data collection to increase access to health commodities, from the service delivery point down to community health workers and patients.
    • optimize warehouse and distribution networks in selected countries including network design and storage and distribution models.
    • strengthen the monitoring and evaluation system for PSM interventions.
    • improve capacity building of in-country personnel to improve procurement management, stock and inventory management, storage conditions, stock integrity, security and distribution planning.
    • strengthen quality assurance activities and systems throughout the in-county supply chain to prevent substandard products reaching patients.
    • address the issue of counterfeit or fake medicines along the entire supply chain, from manufacturer to patient.


  2. Financial and Risk Management: Financial firms working under the Coalition have engaged in idea generation and brainstorming workshops. Innovative approaches to financial management include mobile banking and treasury solutions, such as foreign exchange hedging, insurance and micro payments. Financial management companies can help:
    • roll out new assessment tools, training projects and/or mentoring partnerships to support implementers in attaining a higher standard of financial and risk planning and management.
    • improve risk management in health programs by leveraging the know-how of the insurance & reinsurance industries.
    • strengthen financial management capabilities of Global Fund implementers with the support of the banking industry by addressing key recurring issues that have been identified among Principal Recipient and Sub-recipient financial management practices (e.g. budgeting, planning, monitoring, reporting, reducing management costs, quality and transparency of financial processes).


  3. M&E and Data Quality: Companies will work with the Global Fund to introduce decision support tools and automated solutions for data collection that will increase the availability and quality of data for strategic planning and monitoring. Ideal partners may include companies from the information and communication technology (ICT) sector. ICT can be used to transform and expand the reach of healthcare delivery as well as improve transparency and accountability in health programs. By partnering on this work stream, companies can help:
    • increase the availability and quality of data for strategic planning and monitoring purposes by introducing decision support tools and automated solutions for data collection (including mobile technology).
    • increase the effectiveness and reach of health workers in difficult-to-reach populations through mhealth solutions to improve connectivity, health worker training and performance management programs, or creation and maintenance of knowledge hubs.
    • develop and test innovative ICT mechanisms to improve treatment adherence, cost and efficacy of treatment delivery and/or patient retention.

Please contact Antonello Barbaro, Portfolio Manager, Global Fund for more information and to find out how your company can join the Innovation Coalition

Nisa PatelThe Global Fund’s Innovation Coalition: Turning Challenges into Opportunities