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Leveraging Public-Private Partnerships To Improve Global Health

“Although global health was historically dominated by U.N. agencies and bilateral organizations, new partnerships with the private sector have emerged since the 1990s,” Jeffrey Sturchio, senior partner at Rabin Martin, and Adel Mahmoud, a professor at Princeton University, write in the Huffington Post’s “Impact” blog. “In part, global health’s private sector revolution has been spurred by advances in science and technology as well as the realization that previous ‘magic bullet’ interventions are insufficient to address the broad determinants of health,” they continue.

“With an evident link between a country’s GDP and its overall health status, the private sector has a stake in global health improvements,” the authors write. “Beyond corporate responsibility, the private sector can contribute to global health with its resources, expertise, and innovation,” and public sector global health actors can use the private sector’s “[k]nowledge of product delivery, research and development, and manufacturing and supply” in order “to fill in their own gaps,” Sturchio and Mahmoud state. They conclude, “With the historical distrust and skepticism of private sector involvement from some in the public sector and civil society, the progress of public-private partnerships will rely on discovering common ground and working together to answer these questions in specific circumstances. As a growing number of examples clearly demonstrate, the private sector has a major role to play in achieving an important and positive impact on global health” (1/8).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.