GHF2008 – PL03 – Can We Deliver?

Monday, May 26 2008, 14:00-15:30, Room 3-4

Plenary session PL03, Monday, May 26 2008, 14:00-15:30, Room 3-4
Chair(s): Richard Smith, Director, Ovations / National, Heart, Lung and Blood Institute Chronic Disease Initiative, UK
We Have So Much, and Yet …
Francisco Songane, Director, Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health, WHO, Switzerland  
What is Delivery? What Healthcare Can Learn from Other Industries 
Stefaan Van der Borght, Director of Health Affairs, Heineken International, The Netherlands 
Reaching Those Most in Need
Faruque Ahmed, Director, BRAC Health Program, BRAC, Dhaka, Bangladesh
Access to Medicines: Bridging the Gaps
Robert Sebbag, Vice President, Solidarity Mission on Access to Medicine, Sanofi-Aventis, France 
Measuring Progress
Daniel Low-Beer, Director ad interim, Performance, Evaluation and Policy, The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, Switzerland 

Session Documents

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Session Report

Submitted by: Cathy Matovu (ICVolunteers)

Photo: WHO/Gurinder Osan

There is a huge gap between the economic resources people receive and the economic resources that are available for them. The question "Can we deliver?" addresses this issue by analyzing who is providing these resources and who is benefiting from them.

On the question, Francisco Songane, Director of the Partnernship for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health at WHO stated, "I think we can deliver. We have things in place that enable us to believe that." However, he admitted that inequality is a great problem. In Africa, only 3% of global aid is received in a region where there is 24% of disease burden. The United States receive 37% of global aid and have an average of 17% of disease burden. These figures demonstrate a significant imbalance in the financial resources provided in the world. Moreover, donor funding has increased by 3% but is still not enough. Studies show that 94% of these funds go to specific projects and not to the overall systems within the countries in need. Often, there are restrictive probations from the countries that provide the funds which prevent the funds to be directed towards health care. Songane argued that "countries must develop proper plans and set the tone of what must be done."

Vice President of pharmaceutical company Sanofi-Aventis, Robert Sebbag, equally insists on the development of better systems and encourages partnership and alliance. "We have to work together," he says. "We have no choice if we want to increase access to medicine." After working with WHO for five years, in 2006, Sanofi-Aventis treated 100,000 patients diagnosed with sleeping sickness. Sebbag stated that this number is important and demonstrates the effectiveness of collaboration. In 2006, Sanofi-Aventis re-signed an agreement with WHO and has created partnerships with several other companies including DNDi (Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative) and iOWH (institute for One World Health).

"We can deliver but the question is: are we delivering?" inquired Daniel Low-Beer, Director of the Performance Evaluation and Policy, Evaluation and Policy at the Global Fund. He stated that there has been a rapid growth in interventions and we are slowly but sure accelerating towards the achievements of the MDG (Millennium Development Goals), 4 which is to reduce child mortality and 6, to combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases. The Community Health Volunteers (CHV) in Bangladesh working for BRAC are a clear demonstration of intervention and potentially answer Low-Beer's question. Faruque Ahmed from BRAC explains that the CHV also known as Shasthya Shebikas have positively impacted the health sector in Bangladesh and have been able to deliver aid at a large scale. This model, he argues, is sustainable and can be replicated globally.

Another important discussion was the bridge between the corporate sector and the health sector. Stefaan Van der Borght from Heineken International Health Affairs maintained that the public industries such as health care can learn from private industries by directing their attention entirely towards the consumer or in this case, the patient. His discussion highlighted the strategies used in the beer industry Heineken, in parallel to the strategies used in health care today. It is important for health systems to know exactly what their patients want and how to go about treating them according to their needs, Van der Borght asserted. Utilizing a public and private mix of services will reduce waiting time and also create more flexibility in opening times which will influence the quality of service offered. When the panel was questioned about the relevance of beer and health care, Songane said that in effect, selling beer is not the same as distributing health care and these two elements are not comparable. However, he suggested that partnerships with such companies would not only be beneficial to the health sector but also innovative.

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