Chronic diseases and health promotion

Part Four - Taking action: essential steps for success

Chapter Two - The private sector, civil society and international organizations

Partnerships. Spotlight: Pakistan

Partnerships are collaborative relationships that bring together different parties to achieve a shared goal on the basis of a mutually agreed division of labour. Partnerships for health are indispensable. They offer all sectors new opportunities to work together in order to advance the greater public good. In order to be as effective as possible, they should work within the overall framework for prevention and control determined by the government (see previous chapter).

Working in partnership ensures synergies, avoids overlapping and duplication of activities, and prevents unnecessary or wasteful competition. Partnerships also provide a means of spreading the potential benefits of an initiative beyond what individual partners would achieve on their own, such as in Pakistan (see spotlight below).

Success factors

Developing and managing a successful partnership requires an appropriate organizational structure. There are different types of organizational models ranging from a simple affiliation to the creation of a separate and independent legal entity. Partnerships work best when they:

  • build on the unique roles of each partner;
  • have specific objectives and expected outcomes;
  • define clearly articulated roles and responsibilities
    for each partner;
  • are implemented with the full agreement of all parties.

Spotlight: Public-private partnership in Pakistan

In Pakistan, the public–private tripartite collaborative arrangement, led by the nongovernmental organization Heartfile, with the Ministry of Health and the WHO Pakistan Office, has launched a partnership to develop and implement a national strategy for prevention and control of chronic diseases. The partnership has recently released a strategic framework for action, and work is under way on implementation.

Transparent linkages are being established to broaden the scope of this partnership with the private sector, including electronic media production houses, companies involved in the production, transport, storage and marketing of food items, private schools, road marking consultants, and industries with effluent discharge. Possibilities for partnerships with pharmaceutical companies are also being explored (Nishtar S. The National Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases and Health Promotion in Pakistan – Prelude and finale. Journal of the Pakistan Medical Association, 2004, 54(12 Suppl. 3):S1-8).