The role of business in improving women’s and children’s health


Let’s show we mean business

Panel examines private sector involvement
From left to right: Dr Bustreo, Dr Godal (Norway), Bob Orr (UN) and Graham Baxter (IBLF). Photo credit: IBLF

Organizer: International Business Leaders Forum and the United Nations Foundation
In collaboration with: The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health, Family Care International, Glaxo Smith Kline and Johnson & Johnson
Event dates: 1 September 2010
Venue: London, UK

1 SEPTEMBER 2010 | LONDON –In collaboration with the UN Secretary General’s Office, the United Nations Foundation and the International Business Leaders Forum, PMNCH organized a special meeting to explore ways the private sector can contribute to supporting the Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health. The Global Strategy is a bold effort led by the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon through which stakeholders, including business, can work together to save the lives of millions. Family Care International, Save the Children, GlaxoSmithKline and Johnson& Johnson supported the organization of the event.

The meeting gathered over 80 participants from various industries including ICT, media, pharmaceutical, diagnostic, medical equipment, consumer goods, food and beverage, extraction, mining, banking and consultancies along with government leaders, NGOs, academics, foundations and experts in MNCH. It highlighted substantial contribution business is already making - whether directly or indirectly - through core business practices or social investments to improve MNCH outcomes.

Andrew Mitchell, Secretary of State for International Development, UK Department for International Development delivered opening remarks and hosted a special breakfast for the industry leaders joined by Robert Orr, United Nations Assistant Secretary General for Policy Coordination, Dr Flavia Bustreo, PMNCH Director, Tore Godal, Special Advisor to the Prime Minister of Norway on Global Health and Babatunde Osotimehin, former Minister of Health in Nigeria and spokesperson for PMNCH.

Participants heard evidence from leaders and experts on women’s and children’s health needs, and the interventions required to address them. “Every industry has a way to engage”, said Dr Flavia Bustreo, Director of the PMNCH, who presented an overview of needed interventions and opportunities for all stakeholders including private sector to engage. She also presented a draft paper for comments by the audience entitled: “Child Health and the Missing Link: Working with the Private Sector for Better Results”. Tore Godal highlighted critical role of innovation to overcome barriers and need for innovative public-private partnerships.

Best practices from a range of industry sectors and companies were showcased, including examples from Intel, Hewlett Packard, BBC World Trust, Development Media International, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson& Johnson, Merck, Pfizer, Novartis, Astra Zeneca, GE Healthcare, Shell, Anglo American, Standard Chartered Bank, KPMG, PriceWaterhouse Coopers, DMS, Nestlé, Coca Cola, Vestergaard Frandsen, GSM Association and Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition. “We are building partnerships for better healthcare delivery through use of ICT to build greater capacity, access and quality in order to fast track achievement of the Millennium Development Goals 4, 5 and 6 ” said Mel Remington, Global Lead for Emerging Markets Healthcare, Intel Corporation.

The agenda covered a broad range of potential avenues for private sector involvement across the continuum of care including product innovation and access, service delivery, infrastructure, education, communication and human capital. Role of leadership and importance of government incentives to support global and local business in their endeavors to work with other partners towards achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were highlighted.

A number of companies are already looking seriously at how they might respond to the Global Strategy, and identify commitments, which will be announced to the public during the UN Millennium Develop Goals (MDG) Summit on 22 September 2010 in New York and in the months to come.

Child Health and the Missing Link: Working with the Private Sector for Better Results

Dr. Flavia Bustreo, Director PMNCH, presented the draft paper for comments by the audience, which was co-authored by April Harding, World Bank (formerly of the Center for Global Development), Henrik Axelson, PMNCH, and Dr. Bustreo. The draft paper will soon be published as a joint PMNCH/World Bank Discussion Paper and subsequently become a chapter in a book examining the role of the private sector in the delivery of health services and products in low- and middle-income countries, edited by April Harding.