Trade, foreign policy, diplomacy and health

9. Global Public Goods for Health: Use and Limitations

Richard D Smith, David Woodward

Policy agenda

  • GPGH ‘lead person’ to ensure production
  • Global system surveillance to be pursued
  • Revision of IPR
  • Change in role of international institutions
  • Support to develop national health systems
  • Establish inter-agency 'GPG task force’
  • International political fora
  • 1. As GPGH progress only if they are supported by a 'champion’, it would be appropriate for a lead person or team to be appointed to 'manage' the process of ensuring the production of the GPGH & establish effective mechanisms for collaboration and coordination between these issue leaders.
  • 2. Aspects of knowledge that are clear GPGH should be actively pursued. One element of this will be to further the global system and integration of surveillance of communicable disease, including, especially, AMR disease. A second critical element will be to redress the balance between the production of knowledge and its dissemination and use, particularly in IPR.
  • 3. There is a need for a change in the role of international institutions, and specifically the WHO, which have historically been reluctant to engage in developments of international law.
  • 4. There is a need for support to develop national health systems in countries where they are critically weak. Health systems are the foundation of the efficient provision of most GPGH, and a key constraint to their production.
  • 5. An inter-agency 'GPG task force' should be established to facilitate inter-agency dialogue and coordination concerning GPGH and non-health GPGs, informed by the research agenda. This would allow international bodies (UN, WHO, WB, WTO, etc) together to establish the range of possible GPGs of interest, and together to set the agenda for action. This would be a major first step in advancing the GPG agenda in a favourable direction.
  • 6. The importance of political processes to the appropriate selection, prioritisation and production of GPGH suggests a need to make international fora in which decisions are taken representative, democratic & transparent.