Time to Step Up
GFF Director Mariam Claeson has long argued that while many of the world’s poorest countries have made progress toward improving the health of their citizens, they could save and improve many more lives – more efficiently, and with greater reach, equity and sustainability – with better coordination among stakeholders and smarter financing. This is what the GFF partnership is striving for, and what we believe it can accomplish provided that the private sector is invited – and steps up – to do what it does best.
We know that transformational change – particularly within large bureaucratic institutions – doesn’t happen overnight. Those who operate in the public sector vs. the private still speak different languages. The public sector needs to create mechanisms to optimize the comparative advantage of the private sector in addressing large, complex public health issues – to create space for the private sector to contribute its innovation. And in kind, the private sector needs to showcase through evidence generation their value and contributions to these issues.
As a member of the GFF Investors Group, Merck for Mothers will continue to support and help shape the private sector engagement strategy going forward. We realize it takes time and enduring focus to create systemic change. But I’m optimistic that this will come; that the GFF partnership will keep growing; and that we’ll see more countries dedicate more of their own resources to maternal and child health, and employ private sector thinking more explicitly, and deliberately.