Multi-stakeholder partnerships: The key to unlocking lasting global healthcare change

Open data and transparency build trust in healthcare public-private-partnerships

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A Staff Reporter

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Published: Mon 13 May 2024, 7:21 PM

The Health Leaders Forum that launched the inaugural edition of Abu Dhabi Global Healthcare Week on May 13, 2024, convened 250 global leaders in healthcare and life sciences, private and public sector, as well as philanthropy and civil society to address the urgent need for decisive, cross-sector collaboration to tackle multifaceted pressing concerns and transform the global health ecosystem.

Held under the patronage of Sheikh Khaled bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Chairman of Abu Dhabi Executive Council, the invitation-only Forum, themed ‘From Healthcare to Health’, marks a departure from the traditional reactive model of treating illnesses to a proactive focus on promoting holistic health and wellness. Split across four thematic acts, discussions delved into critical topics including public-private partnerships, ethics and standards in healthcare and life sciences, global health equity and sustainability, and technology, AI, and innovation.


The event featured over 60 distinguished speakers, including Abdulla Al Marri, UAE Minister of the Economy, Omar Al Olama, UAE Minister of State for AI Digital Economy & Remote Work Applications, Ahmed Jasim Al Zaabi, Chairman of the Department of Economic Development Abu Dhabi, Badr Al-Olama, Director General of Abu Dhabi Investment Office, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization, Dr. Khaled Abdel-Ghaffar, Egypt Minister of Health and Population, Adonis Georgiadis, Greece Minister of Health, Dr. Muhammad Ali Pate, Nigeria Minister of Health, Princess Dr. Haya Bint Khaled Bin Bandar Al Saud, Vice President of Research of Hevolution Foundation in Saudi Arabia, Michel Demaré, Chairman of AstraZeneca in Belgium,

The opening plenary session titled ‘Foundational Change: Will philanthropies lead tomorrow’s health-focused private-public-partnerships?’, highlighted the importance of robust investment in overall population health, the transformative power of sustainable investment, and the need for a fundamental shift in healthcare investment structures that includes redefining the role of public-private partnerships to ensure equitable health outcomes worldwide.


Global thought leaders partook in the panel, including Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, UAE Head of International Affairs at the Presidential Court and CEO of 2PointZero, UAE Monica Geingos, Former First Lady of Namibia and UNAIDS Special Advocate on Young Women and Adolescent Girls, Tony Elumelu, Chairman of UBA Group and Founder of Tony Elumelu Foundation in Nigeria, and Badr Jafar, CEO of Crescent Enterprises and Special Envoy for Business & Philanthropy.

Highlighting how strategic cross-sector partnerships and innovative funding models can create lasting positive change, Badr Jafar underscored the importance of a shared vision for healthcare transformation, with clear measurable goals focused on addressing socioeconomic disparities.

It is estimated 2 billion people globally are lacking basic healthcare. In recent years, the COVID-19 pandemic exposed vulnerabilities in global healthcare systems, emphasising the need for resilient and equitable access for all. “Open data standards and clear information sharing, like the World Bank’s frameworks, are crucial for building trust in healthcare public-private-partnerships. This transparency allows for better accountability and ensures projects are implemented effectively,” said Jafar.

He continued: “Multi-stakeholder partnerships leverage the strengths of each sector. Philanthropy offers catalytic funding and early-stage innovation, while the private and public sectors bring their combined expertise and resources. Regionally, the UAE champions multi-stakeholder partnerships. We’ve actively strengthened frameworks, exemplified by the International Humanitarian Council, recognizing the vital role of strategic philanthropy.”

The conversation delved-into on the immense potential of strong multi-stakeholder collaboration, particularly through public-private partnerships (PPPs). It addressed how these partnerships combine public sector vision and resources with private sector expertise and innovation, accelerating progress on both fronts. The discussion also further highlighted how local data and community engagement through Public-Private Partnerships, aims to develop sustainable solutions that empower residents and strengthen local, regional and global healthcare capacity.

Touching on the capacity for local multi-stakeholder partnerships to have a demonstrably positive global impact, the session highlighted initiatives like the UAE-backed Reaching the Last Mile Fund, with a USD $1 billion pledge from the UAE government, that addresses neglected tropical diseases in Africa. Another such initiative is the Global Institute for Disease Elimination (GLIDE) in Abu Dhabi, is the only one of its kind in the region and focuses on accelerating the elimination of preventable diseases of poverty in nearly 100 countries, in collaboration with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The plenary session, moderated by Hadley Gamble, Chief International Anchor Al-Arabiya and host of The Hadley Gamble Show, further addressed the growing potential of strategic philanthropic investments potential to be the linchpin for effective multi-stakeholder partnerships.

Addressing the significant funding gap and need for ample resources, Badr Jafar said: “Philanthropy has played a crucial role globally in supporting healthcare advancements, particularly in low-income and developing nations, increasingly filling funding gaps. In recent years, the top 100 private foundations and grant makers contributed approximately USD $46 billion annually to health-related causes. This represents nearly a quarter of all charitable donations worldwide.”

The session concluded by outlining how philanthropic capital compliments government funding by filling gaps in disease prevention, research, and education, as well as reducing the risk for private sector investment, particularly for innovative early-stage projects. Ultimately, philanthropic entities can ensure focus on underserved communities, promoting greater equity in healthcare access and outcomes.

Mansour Ibrahim Al Mansouri, Chairman of Department of Health – Abu Dhabi, gave the welcoming address to the esteemed attendees ahead of the subsequent sessions.

The Health Leaders Forum brings together global leaders to focus on how to tackle the changes and challenges of global health. Its program facilitated idea exchange and actionable solutions for a healthier, more equitable world through insightful discussions, focused spotlights, and strategic networking. The forum also served as a platform for new partnerships and initiatives.


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