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New Approaches, Partnerships Needed To Make Use Of Available Development Assistance Resources

“After rising threefold during the first decade of the 21st century, development assistance for health has plateaued,” Anurag Mairal, the global program leader for technology solutions at PATH, writes in The Guardian’s “Global Development Professionals Network” blog. “To further reduce health inequities, we need new approaches that make the most of available resources, and I believe public-private partnerships across international borders are key to providing the highest value for money and achieving sustainable impact,” he states. He continues, “In 35 years of developing and delivering high-impact, cost-effective health technologies for developing countries, we [at PATH] have found that both public- and private-sector partners are essential to effectively and efficiently drive lifesaving innovations to scale,” and he highlights the organization’s work to develop and introduce the Silcs diaphragm, “the first new cervical barrier method to receive regulatory approval and enter the market in more than a decade,” as an example of a successful public-private partnership.

“Effective public-private partnerships to improve global health leverage the complementary skills and capacities of government, commercial firms, and NGOs,” Mairal continues, adding, “They make the most of limited resources — financial, technical, and structural — by reducing costs for each sector and avoiding duplication of efforts.” He states, “To succeed, partners need to address multiple challenges along the way,” including “gaps in scientific understanding and tools, insufficient funding, weak and disjointed regulatory systems, and limited local research and manufacturing capacity.” He concludes, “Despite the challenges, the truth remains that in this age of stagnant funding for global health, the best way to get lifesaving technologies to all who need them is through international public-private partnerships. They offer excellent value for money and the greatest likelihood of sustainable impact” (7/31).

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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.