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Healthy Women Healthy Economies

I am currently a Pfizer Global Health Fellow (GHF) working on a 6 month assignment with GBCHealth (formerly known as Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis) based out of their Global Headquarters in New York City.  I am working within a specific GBCHealth International Impact Initiative entitled Healthy Women Healthy Economies (HWHE).  This Initiative is in partnership with the US Department of State and twelve private sector companies that are GBCHealth members

 The private sector has much more to offer when it can combine and integrate its own strengths and resources with those of the public sector and “on-the-ground” NGOs.  This is at the heart of what GBCHealth does in order to stimulate meaningful value to the private sector companies they engage.  GBCHealth partners and develops with companies, governments and NGOs to have a meaningful, sustainable and force-multiplier effect on global health and health outcomes.  The Healthy Women Healthy Economies Initiative leverages this support specifically around the above framework to improve the health and health outcomes of women and girls throughout the globe.  Let me tell you, for the past 3 months it has been a surreal experience so far.  In fact, counterintuitive to what some may expect for a first major development out of the HWHE program, we identified and created a male engagement program intended for workers in the workplace.  While great strides have been made in certain areas of women’s empowerment/education in recent years, women can only go so far without inclusion and understanding from men and boys.  HWHE aims to engage male workers to challenge detrimental cultural gender norms.  It is meant to help male workers realize better health from themselves and their families but also how their decisions, actions and behaviors affect women and girls.  Oh, why the name change to GBCHealth? While the focus on HIV/AIDs, Tuberculosis and Malaria is still important, the GBC name change now recognizes that non-communicable diseases (NCDs) like Diabetes are creating alarming global health problems that need to be addressed.  Due to my corporate background, I was fortunate and excited to be invited to provide some ideas and input for the development of the new GBCHealth mission and vision statement.   Over these past few months, the GBC has become like a second family for me.  I admire the staffs’ passion, engagement and dedication. I now understand and appreciate their approach to global health issues which are from a different perspective than Pfizer Inc.  Pfizer Inc makes investments in partnerships and would qualify as an engaged global leader focusing on global public health.  Many corporations have recognized the need to give back to the world and communities where they work; many partner/support GBCHealth.  The perspective of GBCHealth takes into account how a company or group of companies can maximize their investment in global health that goes beyond simple philanthropic donations of cash resources.   Creatively thinking of different ways that companies can interact to align their corporate social responsibility (CSR) goals, by partnering with governments and NGO organizations, has allowed to me contribute to GBCHealth on many levels.  One example would be the sharing of best practices.  This has been a wonderful opportunity to learn from GBCHealth employees and their member partners on how to accomplish important goals and objectives from the non-government organization (NGO) and public sector perspective.  I am proud to volunteer in the GHF program to pursue health improvements for vulnerable populations.  From a professional standpoint, I am developing first-hand experience about what is currently being done to achieve health improvement, and learning that on a global context is very difficult and complex.  Yet my work with GBCHealth has already seen some partnerships start to take form that have the power to directly improve the health status of these vulnerable populations. There are “No Excuses” for us not to come together in an integrated effort to meet these global health goals.  Till next blog!

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