Global Business Coalition on HIV, AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria presents:
GETTING THE MOST OUT OF PARTNERSHIPS ON HIV/AIDS AND PUBLIC HEALTH IN THE U.S.
GBC RECOMMENDATIONS TO THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION AND ILLUSTRATIVE PARTNERSHIP CASE STUDIES
Read the full report here.
The traditional view of public-private partnerships (PPPs)—in which corporations contribute money and volunteers to programs and partners—is giving way to a new generation. Companies are leveraging their unique skills, assets and reach alongside public partners in ways that are making deeper impact in a time of ever-tightening budgets.
It’s a new movement in the business fight against HIV/AIDS and other public health challenges.
It’s the leading creative minds at BET and MTV joining forces with public health experts to plan and execute awareness campaigns that lead to measurable behavior change. It’s the dozens of companies whose workplace programs and policies are educating and protecting the health of employees in the U.S. and abroad. It’s 500,000 hairdressers, during routine trainings by L’Oréal, becoming equipped to educate their customers about HIV risk reduction strategies. And it’s so much more.
The White House Office of National AIDS Policy underscored the importance of such innovative approaches when it included explicit recommendations for such private-sector partnerships in America’s first-ever comprehensive National HIV/AIDS Strategy and Federal Implementation Plan.
In order to maximize the effectiveness of these and other partnerships, GBC and our partners are making three key recommendations to the Administration. While these recommendations were developed specifically in the context of the U.S. HIV epidemic and GBC’s engagement around the White House’s National HIV/AIDS Strategy, they have implications and “power” that extend far beyond the realm of HIV and AIDS and, if implemented, will transform the way that the U.S. public and private sectors work together to achieve a variety of health and other priorities.
That the Administration and its various agencies reach out to the business community in radical new ways, enlisting new engagement and support around a diverse array of HIV/AIDS and broader health priorities. That means traditional philanthropy, volunteerism, social marketing and biomedical research—but also beyond those more obvious realms, to engagement around workplace programs, core competencies, advocacy and more. Businesses, large and small, employ and touch the vast majority of Americans, and are well-positioned to contribute a wealth of skills, technology and other assets—as well as help legitimize and destigmatize conversations about HIV, sex, sexuality and health more broadly.
That the Administration create explicit, partnership functions and designate senior-level point persons within the Department of Health and Human Services and its agencies, akin to the senior partnership functions within the State Department, e.g. the director of public-private partnerships at PEPFAR. It is our belief that doing so will help the Administration and the nation catalyze and reinforce those health partnerships that make the most strategic sense and have the greatest potential for impact.
That the Administration provide support and resources for health partnerships where appropriate, to ensure that the partnerships are as strategic, well-managed, accountable, sustainable and effective as possible. It is our view that partnerships must be well-designed, well-managed and appropriately resourced, in order to achieve results—and that the results achieved will far outweigh the costs.
To support these recommendations, GBC has collected case studies from 23 different partnerships in the U.S., representing a cross-section of sectors and approaches that are redefining the business community’s roles in the fight against HIV/AIDS—our present area of focus—as well as a few examples from related health arenas. These three recommendations are rooted in the needs identified in these case studies, and in the many successes of the State Department and PEPFAR models—which already operate in accordance with the above.
A PROVEN APPROACH
Until this year, the U.S. lacked a comprehensive and cohesive strategy for fighting HIV/AIDS at home the way it has done abroad. The new U.S. HIV/AIDS strategy is the beginning of something transformative—a framework that already is re- establishing the nation’s program, policy and investment priorities, and allowing key parties from every sector to work together in a more strategic and aligned way.
Now that we have a comprehensive National HIV/AIDS Strategy and federal implementation plan, we face the challenge of execution, across multiple geographies and notably diverse stakeholder groups, including business. Fortunately, we can look abroad for precedent.
PEPFAR, which began in 2003, organizes the U.S. government’s HIV/AIDS programs around the world. It’s an unprededented effort that’s been getting results on the ground through a wide array of activities and partnerships. Among those partners is the private sector.
Thanks to vigorous U.S. government efforts to enlist corporate involvement in international development efforts; appointed ambassadors for public-private partnership; and federal support and resources, business has been able to fill critical gaps in PEPFAR programs, in many cases helping to forge, fund, sustain and scale partnerships across key stakeholders, with stunning results.
“At PEPFAR, we looked to business as a partner with unparalleled potential for impact,” said Mark Dybul, former U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator. “We found that we needed to staff a public-private partnership unit and provide resources to get those partnerships off the ground. It’s an approach that had remarkable results in a global setting and I’m confident it will work domestically.”
Becton Dickinson and Company (BD) has been a leading partner for the U.S. government in the fight against HIV/AIDS abroad. Earlier this year, the company partnered with PEPFAR and the Government of Kenya to launch a joint, multi- year initiative to improve diagnostic practices in clinics and hospitals. The initiative ultimately aims to support training for thousands of healthcare workers in sub-Saharan Africa, tracking and assessing hundreds of thousands of blood draws per year within each participating country.
“We believe that well defined and well executed public private partnerships can address under-served health needs effectively,” said Renuka Gadde, Senior Director, Global Health at BD. “In our experience, solving complex challenges can be best accomplished through collaboration. The private sector brings its business process savvy, technical assistance and resources. On the other hand, the public sector often sets the framework to facilitate program reach so that ultimately government actors can own both the process and the progress.
The first step in designing a partnership is engaging a dialogue between public and private sectors, addressing common goals and planning how they will be accomplished. The U.S. government is able to create stellar partnerships through their PEPFAR program abroad. There is an opportunity for the government to pursue a similar approach on the domestic home front.”
On occasion, companies have forged comparable partnerships with the U.S. government in order to support domestic health priorities, particularly during times of crisis. For instance, in 2009, Walgreens partnered with the CDC to increase the number of people who were immunized against H1H1. After both partners recognized the strategic role Walgreens and other retailers could play in encouraging and providing H1N1 vaccinations, they worked together to focus the immunization campaign on five priority groups. The Walgreens-CDC partnership provides an excellent example of partnerships done well, with each party focusing on its unique area of expertise: CDC providing critical techincal knowledge and resources, and Walgreens bringing to bare its imbeded network of 7,000 stores, media and PR expertise and team of pharmacists.
The end result of that collaboration: Walgreens not only provided 5.4 million season flu shots during the 2009-2010 flu season—over four times the amount provided the previous year—the company also administered two million H1N1 vaccinations in all 50 states.1 Going forward, CDC leaders have expressed an interest in forging additional partnerships with Walgreens and other major retailers to conduct in-store HIV screening in key geographies nationwide (pending funding)—another, ideal pairing of public expertise and corporate assets.
We’ve seen what a strategic approach to partnerships can accomplish abroad. We’ve also seen what strategic partnerships can achieve domestically, on a relatively small and ad hoc basis, and during times of crisis. Now it’s time to redouble our focus on partnerships here in the U.S. – and do so in a strategic, sustained, and significant way.
BUSINESS STANDS READY TO HELP
The following 23 partnerships underscore the private sector’s commitment to ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the U.S. The highly engaged companies featured in these case studies also shed remarkable light on what’s already working on the ground, what isn’t and how we can make things work better.
Businesses from every sector and every geography stand ready to engage and support where they can. But they can’t do it alone. Businesses have skills and competencies that partners need, but sometimes lack deep knowledge of the U.S. HIV/AIDS epidemic and other health issues. Even with technical and project management support from intermediaries like the Kaiser Family Foundation, the National AIDS Fund, Funders Concerned About AIDS, GBC and others, businesses still require the “invitation”, expertise, guidance and partnership of the federal government.
The lessons learned from PEPFAR and elsewhere help point a way forward—to more strategic, scalable and effective public-private partnerships; breakthrough partnerships that will help turn the tide in ways unseen and perhaps unimaginable to us today. Already, public-private partnerships are having tremendous impact in the U.S. But, with stronger federal partnership and support, they have the potential to go even deeper, helping us bring about a faster end to the HIV/AIDS epidemic in our communities and across our nation.