Over the past three months on assignment with GBCHealth, I learned rapidly that things in global health and public health do not stay the same for very long. Information has a short half-life due to such dynamic and changing interests on the global health stage. Despite macro health issues that remain the same (i.e. large HIV mortality and morbidity burden), the fundamentals of these health issues tend to be more dynamic and complex (i.e. shifting of the burden of HIV incidence to younger females due to gender-based & sexual violence and reduced educational opportunities for women). Global health issues require coordinated integration of governments, private sector companies and NGOs to be solved effectively. This is where the GBCHealth comes in… I would say that we are consultants that function as “matchmakers.” We engage the private sector and NGOs (with and without governments) to formulate effective, sustainable, synergistic and targeted programs, initiatives or partnerships. While this seems rather intuitive and conceptually simplistic, I learned my first few weeks on the job how critically important this is due to information overload in global health, relationship development issues with turnover at a company, NGO or government department and the continual corporate realignments due to economic forces (resulting in potential changes in corporate social responsibility funding, focus, personnel).
Having been with Pfizer since 1999, I have been indoctrinated into what the power of change can provide from both a structural and strategic standpoint. This has helped me understand and recognize how important positive change is for efficiency and progress. As evidence of this fast-paced change, GBCHealth has even completely revamped their name, mission, vision statement and core values. My experience so far has taught me that not only do corporations strategically adapt to changing “market” conditions but NGOs also can strategically adapt to changing “environmental” conditions or new evidence based information from their board or benefactors (albeit at a much different rate). Changing to meet expectations and take advantage of potential synergies is a critical concept as we all need to do more with less… in everything from global health, corporate value chains and even in our own lives. Effective and accurate measurement of outcomes data from programmatic work or investment is needed to define and quantify efficiency gains in order to best maximize private, public and global convening entity inputs. The POTUS’ Global Health Initiative even acknowledges the overarching importance of effective measurement and evaluation for demonstrable progress in health outcomes. HWHE has five pillars and six areas for corporate action that make up the essential framework.
|5 Pillars of HWHE:||6 Areas for Corporate Action:|
|Health (Health focus on HIV/AIDs & Maternal Health)||Philanthropy|
|Economic Empowerment||Employee Engagement|
|Gender Based Violence||Core Competencies|
|Engagement of Men and Boys||Advocacy|
Intersections of these areas (“pillars x actions”) provide opportunities for the private sector to contribute and collaborate upon projects that lead to improvements in women and girls health and health outcomes. Notice that Philanthropy (aka. funding/financial donations) is only one of many components for corporate action. While financial donations are certainly important and have tremendous value, leaders in global health have realized that donating money into isolated and/or non-sustainable global health programs does not improve health (of males or females) in a meaningful sustainable way. One of the many projects we are currently on is to move forward with branding a Male Engagement program based on Gender Equality delivered in the workplace. This initiative will challenge problematic social and behaviors norms on what it means to be a man. Pilot study results have demonstrated improvements in male worker wellbeing, testing/health service utilization, better health awareness as well as benefits to their families (woman and children) and even their community at large.