February 15, 2013

The Power of Public/Private Partnerships

Erika Linnander, Director of Field Programs

Partners join together to discuss Project Last Mile.
Collaboration across sectors is essential to positive advancements in global health. One loud and relentless champion of this idea is former Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton. During a speech honoring the Department of State's Public/Private Partnerships, Clinton noted the importance of partnerships that span across sectors, industries and geographic regions.

Our experience at GHLI shows that while well-developed partnerships can have a great impact, they also can be difficult to create and maintain as partners navigate competing priorities and objectives, develop relationships, bridge gaps created by cultural and technical jargon, and identify and articulate their strategic advantages.  That said, with the right approach, potential return on investment in partnership can be well worth any challenges we may face.

As evidence of our belief in partnerships, GHLI joined The Coca-Cola Company, the Global Fund, the Medical Stores Department in Tanzania, and other key partners in Project Last Mile. With the goal of improving access to medicines in remote areas of Tanzania, Coke offers expertise related to global distribution systems while GHLI focuses on identifying how private and public sectors can collaborate effectively to benefit populations.

As the Former Secretary of State has so often asserted, our global interdependence compels us to act on behalf of the most needy among us.  Global health can no longer be a profession of charity, and traditional models of corporate social responsibility are proving inadequate for addressing today's complex development challenges.  Lessons learned from Project Last Mile can be applied to other public-private partnerships in the future to positively shape the global health landscape.

For a description of key factors associated with successful partnership development and to read a complete teaching case study describing Project Last Mileclick here.

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