Private sector in West and Central Africa explore strategic partnerships for improved health outcomes

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Private sector in West and Central Africa explore strategic partnerships for improved health outcomes

27 October 2009

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Over 150 participants from 10 WCA countries came to the workshop
Credit: UNAIDS

A strategic combination of private sector know-how and technologies with public sector expertise and funding could lead to improved health and a more efficient AIDS response in West and Central Africa. This was the message from a one day workshop held in Ghana focusing on the role of the private sector in Global Fund processes that brought together 60 companies, 10 national business coalitions tackling HIV and employers federations, as well as trade unions and development partners from all over West and Central Africa.

The workshop was organized at the initiative of UNAIDS and with the support of the Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria (GBC), the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria (Global Fund), the International Labour Organization (ILO), the German Development Cooperation (GTZ), and Partenaires contre le Sida (PCS). The October 22 workshop followed a two day event on malaria organized by the GBC.

If we work together to ensure that the resources, know-how, and technologies of the private sector are strategically combined with public sector funding and expertise, we can significantly improve the health and well-being of people in West and Central Africa, and around the world .

John Tedstrom, President and CEO of Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria

“If we work together to ensure that the resources, know-how, and technologies of the private sector are strategically combined with public sector funding and expertise, we can significantly improve the health and well-being of people in West and Central Africa, and around the world,” said John Tedstrom, GBC’s President and CEO. “By sharing best practices, and collaborating with the Global Fund to ensure that help is delivered to the areas of greatest need, we may finally have the ability to slow down and eventually defeat AIDS, TB and malaria.”

During the lively discussions, participants shared ideas and identified opportunities to partner with the Global Fund both as fund recipients, and as co-investors, in order to scale-up community HIV, TB and malaria programmes. Businesses also discussed how to deploy their resources, skills and expertise to support oversight and governance of the Global Fund mechanisms and processes at the local level. Technical support providers described how and where private sector actors could obtain relevant support at each of the various stages of the Global Fund processes.

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The Ministry of Health in Ghana gave the keynote speech
Credit: UNAIDS

The Minister of Health of Ghana, Benjamin Kumbuor gave a keynote speech at the event. He highlighted the importance of working hand in hand with the private sector to support the implementation of HIV, TB and malaria programmes, and that Ghana serves as a good example of this. According to the Minister, the momentum seen in his country should extend across the continent and serve as catalyst for greater impact in reducing the social and economic burden of these epidemics. It also means working collectively to yield greater return on investments and more impact on the ground. UNAIDS agrees. “We need smarter investments in the AIDS response, to ensure that we can achieve more with less,” said Léopold Zekeng, UNAIDS Country Coordinator in Ghana. “As long as there are five people newly infected for every two people starting HIV treatment, we will not change the trajectory of the epidemic. The Global Fund is a strategic and responsive investor in AIDS, and UNAIDS is working in close partnership supporting the Fund’s full grant cycle – from the development of AIDS grant proposals, to programme implementation, to monitoring and evaluation.”

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A group photo with all key partners involved in the organization of the workshop: from left to right, GBC CEO, Ghana AIDS Commission Director, Minister of Health, UNAIDS Ghana Coordinator and the UN Resident Coordinator in Ghana.
Credit: UNAIDS