The Global Fund presents an unprecedented opportunity for philanthropists, corporations, trusts, foundations and nongovernment partners to have a significant impact on the response to AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. Private sector partners have a number of ways to contribute – their finances, their knowledge, their participation in governance, their abilities as implementers, and through advocacy.
As of January 2018, private sector partners have contributed over US$2.2 billion to expand the reach of Global Fund investments and save lives. This includes substantial commitments from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as well as more than US$500 million generated by PRODUCT(RED). The Global Fund also works closely with partners to develop alternative funding mechanisms that work within the ecosystem of sustainable domestic financing for health. Some of our initiatives include impact investing, country-led health trust funds, social impact and health bonds, concessional financing, and Debt2Health (a debt swap to raise funds for health), among others.
Partners also help Global Fund-supported programs to work better through sharing their knowledge and technical expertise. Coca-Cola, SAP, Ecobank, Munich Re and others have used their skills and capacities to strengthen health systems and improve program implementation.
In addition, the private sector contributes to decision-making through a seat on the Global Fund Board (another seat is allocated to private foundations). The Board, which is comprised of 20 voting constituencies, is responsible for approving funding decisions and for setting the priorities and policies for the organization.
Lombard Odier and the Global Fund launched a strategic partnership in January 2018 to create ways to help the private sector contribute to the Global Fund’s work, while addressing investors’ need to meet their financial goals. The partnership will look, for example, at structures that allow investors to share a proportion of the gains they receive from putting their capital to work. As Patrick Odier, Senior Managing Partner, Lombard Odier Group noted: “Investors no longer need to choose between doing well and doing good. It is becoming easier to meet both goals at the same time.”
Unilever and the Global Fund combined forces to improve health program effectiveness, reduce infections and save lives fighting HIV and malaria in key geographies in Africa, such as South Africa and Nigeria, and in Asia, with a focus on India and Bangladesh. The partnership will support work in the following areas: HIV prevention programs that focus on adolescent girls and young women; water, sanitation and hygiene programs in malaria case management, particularly for children under 5; supply chain-strengthening initiatives to build in-country capacity and more effective distribution networks; and designing more patient-centric programs. Unilever and the Global Fund have agreed to invest US$5 million each to support these activities over the next three years.
At the country level, private sector and nongovernment partners are involved in the Country Coordinating Mechanisms in many countries.
As part of their sustainability efforts, private sector companies also participate on the ground, serving as Principal Recipients or sub-recipients of grants, implementing interventions to serve the men, women and children living with the diseases.
There is also a role for private sector partners to support the Global Fund’s awareness and advocacy efforts. Because the Global Fund does not have a presence in country, it relies on partners – including private sector companies – to help raise awareness of the work of the Global Fund among partners and implementers.
The broad range of private partners engaging with the Global Fund understand that investing in health equals investing in markets, people and the long-term profitability of their businesses. Partnering with the Global Fund also brings visibility, recognition and opportunities to further develop businesses.