Business delivers as front-line player in the global fight against HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria (Africa)

Leadership in Health Services

ISSN: 1751-1879

Article publication date: 5 October 2010




Lamb-White, J. (2010), "Business delivers as front-line player in the global fight against HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria (Africa)", Leadership in Health Services, Vol. 23 No. 4.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2010, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Business delivers as front-line player in the global fight against HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria (Africa)

Article Type: News and views From: Leadership in Health Services, Volume 23, Issue 4

Keywords Global health initiatives, Private sector engagement, Healthcare standards, Healthcare strategy

From an initiative that is reaching 3.5 million people threatened by TB to a massive expansion of access to cheap anti-malaria medication in 24 African countries, businesses are doing work that is complementing the global health work of governments and international agencies. The companies behind this work are getting together with governments and non-profit organisations to recognize what is working best and to focus on doing more in the fight against global epidemics.

President Bush’s successful President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) program regarded private sector engagement as critical to its success. And the Obama administration efforts like the global health initiative (GHI) are taking this one step further, explicitly engaging business and tapping private sector assets and expertise to improve the efficiency, effectiveness and sustainability of government programs to fight HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria.

Eight companies received GBC’s Awards for Excellence in Business Action at a rare gathering of international leaders, joining corporations, governments and international agencies around a common objective, including the Secretary-General of the United Nations, the heads of the WHO, UNAIDS, PEPFAR and the Global Fund, US Secretary for Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, top CEOs, recording star and activist Annie Lennox and PSI Board member Ashley Judd. Former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice also will be honored for her commitment and leadership in the creation of the US PEPFAR, the President’s Malaria Initiative and the Millennium Challenge Corporation.

The standard-setting programs by the National Business Association, sanofi-aventis, Eli Lilly & Company, Newmont Ghana Gold Limited, Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc., and NetsforLife, a partnership among The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation, ExxonMobil and Standard Chartered Bank, are part of a broader global movement in which governments, international organizations, civil society and companies are aligning strategies and actions on the frontlines of the fight.

“Governments and non-profit organisations can’t do it alone. The private sector needs to step up now to avert tragedy, and use what we know about how to join the forces of business with governments and non-profits to make the health of people sustainable over the long-term,” said GBC President and CEO John Tedstrom. “Coalition members – and these exemplary companies in particular – have done so much that has built momentum in the fight against HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria, for people and communities around the world. We need more companies to do the same.

“Fighting global diseases requires innovation, commitment and collaboration. It takes more than one scientist, one government or one company to tackle the health challenges people are facing today. Business, government and civil society must pool their resources, expertise and reach to positively impact global health,” said Muhtar Kent, Chairman and CEO of The Coca-Cola Company and co-chairman of the Coalition’s Board of Directors. “We salute these private sector leaders who are joining together to improve health and foster economic development around the world.”

After many years of working on the periphery, business is now playing a pivotal role in the fight. This major shift has been gaining momentum over the past five to seven years, as governments, international organizations, non-profit organisations and the private sector join forces to align strategies and actions in global health.

In March, GBC brought together the Obama administration’s top global health leaders – including Ambassador Eric Goosby, the US Global AIDS Coordinator; Admiral Tim Ziemer, Coordinator of the President’s Malaria Initiative and Amie Batson, USAID Deputy Asst. Administrator for Global Health – with top corporate leaders to begin to align strategies and identify how business capabilities and assets can support GHI implementation. And in May, GBC and other business leaders contributed to a White House panel on the new US National HIV/AIDS strategy – where the Obama administration has also been proactively incorporating business guidance and actions.

Building on that momentum, the awards dinner will culminate a two-day conference focused on improving the effectiveness and impact of collaboration on global health. Participants will include skilled practitioners and innovative thinkers from the worlds of economic development, global health and academia.

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