Health leaders gather to forge path for future public-private partnerships

The forum aimed to address the urgent need for decisive, cross-sector collaboration to tackle multifaceted pressing concerns and transform the global health ecosystem

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Published: Tue 14 May 2024, 10:50 AM

The Health Leaders Forum that launched the inaugural edition of Abu Dhabi Global Healthcare Week on May 13, 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.

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, including Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, UAE Head of International Affairs at the Presidential Court and CEO of 2PointZero; 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, participated in the panel.

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

An estimated two billion people worldwide lack access to fundamental healthcare services. 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."

Addressing the significant funding gap and need for ample resources, 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."

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