The Role of Private Sector Partnerships in Global Health – Experiences from the German Health Alliance
At the Hub Community Meeting “Partnerships for Global Health” on 27 October 2022, Alexander Boxler, Managing Director of the German Health Alliance, unfolded the value of private sector partnerships for global health. (F.l.t.r.: Mbali Motsoeneng, Tanya Herfurth, Zoé Speltz and Alexander Boxler)
Overcoming bureaucratic hurdles together
Four months ago, a private initiative for Ukraine consulted the GHA with the request to donate an urgently needed microscope for a hospital. Thereupon the GHA contacted one of its members – the technology company “ZEISS” – which would in fact provide a microscope quickly and easily. However, this project was in danger of failing because German regulations prohibit a donation to a private initiative. To enable the donation anyway, the GHA approached another of its members, namely “action medeor”. Europe’s largest drug relief organization was to officially accept the microscope and forward it to Ukraine. The microscope arrived at the hospital and was immediately used. Examples like this illustrate the effectiveness of private sector partnerships which can make an important contribution to improving global health.
The GHA and the benefits of multisectoral cooperation
The Steering Committee of the Global Health Hub Germany is composed of eight different stakeholder groups. One of them is the private sector and it is represented by “GOPA Worldwide Consultants GmbH” and the "German Health Alliance" (GHA). Alexander Boxler, managing director of the GHA, was invited to the Hub Community for Global Health Partnerships to provide insights into the work of the GHA and the importance of private sector partnerships for global health. GHA is an initiative of the Federation of German Industry e.V. (BDI). Its 120 members from various sectors, such as industry, academia, foundations, NGOs and governmental development organisations, form the core of the GHA. The network places a strong focus on medical technology, pharmaceutical and consulting companies. The overall goal of GHA’s work is strengthening health systems. To reach this, it strives for multisectoral cooperation between governments, the private sector, academia and civil society. It works with parliamentarians and ministries to put global health on the political agenda, both in Germany and internationally, and advocates for investments in health. It also communicates the interests of its members to policymakers by writing position papers. For example, it contributed to the preparation of the Federal Government’s Global Health Strategy. The GHA also is a platform for the exchange of actors from the health sector and a contact for German and foreign governments on health issues with international reference. The members of the GHA are informed about relevant global health events, topics, and current developments. For its members it organises conferences and round tables with specific working groups on specific topics. This is how they can network and find out whether potential collaborations would be useful.
Partnering up with the Hub
The topic of global health was not as present as it is today, when the GHA was established in 2010. In recent years, a change has taken place and global health institutions in Germany have evolved significantly. In addition, the Covid-19 pandemic brought significant attention and shift of mind to the topic. The number of global health organisations with which the GHA can partner has increased significantly. In doing so, they can work together to achieve the common goal of improving global health.
Already since its foundation in 2019, the Global Health Hub Germany has been working together with the GHA. Trust is the basis of effective partnerships. According to GHA’s managing director Alexander Boxler, this is where the Hub plays an important role: That’s an arena where the private sector comes together with NGOs, civil society and politics. You can only build up trust when you know each other, when you speak to each other, when you get an understanding for the other points. Platforms like the Hub are important to start this exchange”.
The Hub Community for Global Health Partnerships has been recently relaunched and is led by Tanya Herfurth and Mbali Motsoeneng. The Community focuses on partnerships with the private sector to advance global health and invites members to learn about innovative approaches, share insights and develop joint projects.
Contact Merle Wangerin to join the Hub Community “Partnerships for Global Health” to dive deeper into the topic!