The Power of Partnership in Global Health


This week, as you all may know, Chemonics is currently attending the World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland.

What you may not know is that Chemonics is but one organization of more than 50 being represented in the Global Health Council’s delegation, which is only a small fraction of the United States’ contingency, which is but one of the 194 country delegations expected to contribute to critical annual dialogue around global health policy.

And this year is not a typical WHA year. This year, the expansive country delegations will be leading conversation around how to best contribute global health policy to the success of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)—set to support the one-third of the global population living in developing countries. And while health underpins many of these 17 SDGs, only one goal is solely dedicated to health.

So how can all of these individuals, organizations, and countries truly contribute to one goal?

One word: partnership.

As laid out by Dr. Jonathan Quick, Board Chair of the Global Health Council, and president & CEO of Management Sciences for Health (shown in photo at right), partnership provides us with the opportunity to put our long-term collective interests above our short-term individual and organizations’ interests. Partnership and collaboration—what he referred to as getting together inside this “global big tent”—can serve as the means to achieve the SDG of attaining “healthy lives for all at all ages.”

To bring this idea of partnerships to the forefront here at the WHA, Chemonics is cohosting a side event at the Geneva Press Club today from 4 to 6 pm. Together with the Global Health Council and FSG, we will be addressing the big question: “Are Complex Global Health Partnerships Worth It?”

While this blog gives you a peek into my own opinion on the matter (SO worth it!) our panelists—including Chemonics’ own Oscar Cordon, FSG’s Kyle Peterson, Oxfam GB’s Mogha Kamal-Yanni, and hopefully a representative from the Peru Ministry of Health—will provide a platform of experience and a full landscape of evidence-based research as food for thought, walking us through the impact and pitfalls of multi-stakeholder collaboration. It’s something we’ve seen firsthand through our experiences working with the Ministry of Health, local governments, civil society organizations, universities, community organizations, and patient associations in Peru to improve the quality of health service delivery.

Some of the questions we’ll discuss include: How can we design partnerships to maximize impact? How can the assets of different partners be best used to advance the partnership’s goals? And what incentives best motivate different stakeholders in multi-stakeholder partnerships? Learning from each other’s experiences with partnerships will help us position ourselves to best set WHA global health policy for 2015—and more importantly, align our collective interests to reach our one SDG for health.

Are you at the WHA? Join us at the Geneva Press Club from 4 – 6 p.m.! Not in Geneva? Add your thoughts in the comments and stay tuned for takeaways from the event later this week!

Elizabeth McGehee is a manager in Chemonics' health practice.

 


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