Trade, foreign policy, diplomacy and health

9. Global Public Goods for Health: Use and Limitations

Richard D Smith, David Woodward


Role of WHO

  • Provide coordination between ‘vertical’ programmes for the production of GPGH
  • Pursue development of model legislation necessary for the production of the GPGH
  • Provide a ‘clearing house’ for information required to produce and finance GPGH
  • Raise profile of GPG concept
  • Provide coordination between 'vertical' programmes for the production of GPGH, and ensuring that efforts to deal with particular diseases contribute to the strengthening of overall health systems rather than skewing resource allocation within them. In particular, WHO should be seen to be actively encouraging and facilitating collaboration and coordination between vertical programmes, and support governments in their coordination role at the national level.
  • Pursue more rigorously the development of model legislation necessary for the production of the GPGH discussed in this volume, such as in the fields of intellectual property rights and tobacco control. In particular, there is a need to coordinate both economic and political analyses of various potential legislative options to ensure that the most feasible option is pursued. WHO should therefore be engaged in politico-legal and econo-legal 'brokerage' to ensure GPGH production.
  • Provide a 'clearing house' for the information required to produce and finance GPGH. The key issue of the 'prisoners' dilemma' results from a lack of information - WHO is perfectly placed to provide a central repository and channel for the transmission of key information relating to specific GPGH. For example, surveillance information for AMR. More broadly it could be involved in collecting and synthesising information on the experience of GPGH production and finance elsewhere to inform future activities.
  • Raise the profile of the GPG concept to aid understanding of its purpose and relevance to health. This could be extended to provide technical support, guidance and capacity-building to others working on GPGs and health, nationally and internationally.
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