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Innovation comes in many forms, from brilliant technology breakthroughs to simple advances that yield a better solution to a straightforward activity, like delivering health products. In many cases, even a low-tech innovation can improve health care in a life-changing way. Sometimes it just takes a new perspective on an old problem.

Innovation is a key to ending AIDS, TB and malaria as epidemics. The Global Fund is working with partners to deliver creative and practical solutions that address complex challenges, as well as creative ways of financing those solutions. We constantly seek gains in efficiency. We must constantly strive to make each dollar, pound, euro or yen go as far as possible.

Supply chain management

Coca-Cola – The "Last Mile" Project

Essential health supplies do not always reach those who need them the most. To tackle this challenge, the Coca-Cola Company and the Global Fund are working together to strengthen and improve medical supply chains in Africa.

The "Last Mile" partnership leverages Coca-Cola’s logistics, supply chain, distribution and marketing expertise to support local governments in their efforts to reach the most remote communities with critical medical supplies.

By drawing on Coca-Cola’s years of experience distributing beverages to remote locations, significant improvements are now being made to the storage, distribution and marketing of life saving medicines and medical supplies.

Project "Last Mile" will include ten African countries over the next five years, with operations starting in Mozambique as soon as February 2016. In addition, the Global Fund will also tap into Coca-Cola’s marketing expertise to increase the demand for health services in selected countries.

Financial and risk management

GMS and SAP – Improving efficiency in the distribution of grants

The partnership between Grant Management Solutions (GMS), SAP and the Global Fund leverages the technology market leader’s software development expertise to increase the efficiency of Global Fund grants to fight AIDS, TB and malaria. GMS is a project funded through a contract between the U.S. Agency for International Development and Management Sciences for Health, who leads the project along with 28 partners.

By employing the latest analytical technology, SAP is helping to ensure that Global Fund grants are being efficiently spent.

The Principal Recipient Grant Management Dashboard was developed through close collaboration with GMS and SAP. This tool allows program managers in implementing countries to review and assess grants, monitor the performance of grant implementers, and see grant “burn rates".

Thanks to the information provided through the Dashboard, issues can be identified and addressed sooner. Grant performance is more easily tracked, which in turn helps program managers identify the most effective organizations on the ground.

The Dashboard has been rolled out in 13 countries, and 6 additional countries have expressed interest. The partnership is an excellent example of how the Innovation Hub can quickly take an initiative to scale.

Financial and risk management

Ecobank - Strengthening financial skills of grant recipients

Organizations working on the ground to serve people living with AIDS, TB and malaria sometimes lack sufficient financial skills to make the most effective use of grant funds. Ecobank has teamed up with the Global Fund to create a training program which will build the financial skills of Global Fund grant recipients.

Ecobank provides local implementers with training in:

  • Financial management
  • Accounting and
  • Reporting

These programs also help to promote innovation and best practice.

Programs in Nigeria, South Sudan and Senegal have already benefited from this initiative, and as a consequence, program performance has improved in these countries. The partnership will expand to additional countries in sub-Saharan Africa over the next three to five years, to achieve:

  • Improved financial management of public resources
  • Wider coverage of donor funding
  • Improved health service delivery

The Principal Recipient Grant Management Dashboard: An Innovation for Impact

Procurement – the future of public health procurement

Building on the successes of other Global Fund initiatives, such as the Pooled Procurement Mechanism and Procurement for Impact, the Global Fund developed an online purchasing platform: It connects buyers and sellers of health products for Global Fund-supported programs that serve the people and communities most in need.

The platform was designed to provide accessible prices, increased transparency and improved reliability in the supply of quality-assured medicines, other health products and non-health commodities necessary for HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria health programs.

See our page for more.

Program quality

PharmaAccess – Health PIN for mobile payments

In Kenya, people can pay for a wide variety of goods and services – everything from their monthly rent to the lunch tab – using their mobile phones. Why not add health services to the list? We have been working with the PharmAccess Foundation to develop the Health PIN. This is a mobile health exchange which mobile money providers such as M-Pesa with medical care. This allows someone visiting a clinic to pay for their malaria test via a cell phone, while at the same time the clinic can collect information such as age, gender, type of test, and test result.

The program is on track to reach 2,000 private health care clinics (out of approximately 3,000 total) in Kenya. It is also beginning to connect with public health care facilities and, in addition to malaria data, will soon begin to collect HIV and AIDS data. This data will help to improve quality of care, reduce administrative costs, improve transparency and accountability, and aid in decision-making.

Innovative financing

We work closely with implementing countries to help them come up with new ways to finance their health programs. This includes developing creative financial instruments that will attract investors, private sector companies, foundations, development banks, and other partners.

The Global Fund is focusing on new ways to raise funding as well as ways to make this funding more effective. We help implementing countries develop their own solutions by fostering new partnerships. In this way, these innovative financing platforms will be tailored to individual country solutions and will complement government funding for health.

Some of our innovative finance platforms include social impact bonds, blended finance instruments, health trust funds and debt swaps for health.

Social Impact Bonds are a new type of outcome based contract, where governments and external donors specify the outcomes to be achieved, and agree to pay for them only if those outcomes are achieved. The working capital required for the service providers and on the ground partners comes from socially motivated investors who then bear the delivery risk. We are examining ways to incorporate these social impact bonds within our funding model.

In addition, we are exploring blended financial instruments, which combine development finance and philanthropic funds to leverage additional private capital. These can then be used to fill specific funding gaps in the fight against AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.

We are currently supporting innovative financing platforms and providing technical support to various countries in Africa, Asia and the Pacific region.

Published 08 November 2016