At the opening of the Sixth Replenishment conference, the Global Fund announced a range of private sector partners that will spur innovation to accelerate the end to HIV, tuberculosis and malaria, the world’s deadliest infectious diseases.
Nine private sector organizations are making new commitments to help solve critical challenges with innovative mobile and digital technology, consumer goods and finance that provide crucial technical expertise and know-how.
“The Global Fund needs forward-thinking and innovative approaches if we are to end the epidemics of AIDS, TB and malaria,” says Peter Sands, executive director of the Global Fund. “These commitments exemplify the private sector’s expertise to help break down barriers to access health services and accelerate the fight.”
The event in Lyon showcased how private sector commitments are supporting the development of new and better products, such as better formulations for children to treat HIV, TB and malaria, simpler and cheaper diagnostics, and long-acting treatments, as well as reducing the time products take to reach patients.
“The private sector can play a transformational role when it comes to ending the world’s deadliest infectious diseases,” says Sherwin Charles, the Global Fund board member representing the private sector, and CEO of Goodbye Malaria. “We need continued investment in new technologies, health innovations and greater efficiency. This will accelerate access to newer and more effective tools.”
The new partnerships are framed to innovate solutions that improve access to medicines, products and health services, particularly for those in hard to reach areas and those that need them most.
The Thomson Reuters Foundation announced it will support the Global Fund’s “Breaking Down Barriers initiative” by facilitating pro-bono legal research, support and advice and capacity-building and training for non-profit groups, civil society groups, health practitioners and journalists in key countries supported by the Global Fund.
Societe Generale, an international bank with a strong presence in Africa, has committed to put its expertise and resources at work to strengthen the financial and entrepreneurship skills of women in West and Central Africa in order to promote their empowerment and engagement in health programs.
The French Business Council for Africa (Conseil français des investisseurs en Afrique – CIAN) announced the launch of its initiative for better health in Africa, known as “Programme Santé Entreprise Afrique”. This large-scale program will leverage the CIAN’s extensive membership of over 180 French companies to expand access to HIV, TB and malaria prevention and access to health services within the workplace and surrounding communities.
MedAccess announced a $100-million increase in its own capital to accelerate new products to market.
To harness the expertise of technology companies, the Global Fund will work with Mastercard, Orange, The Rockefeller Foundation; and also with Google Cloud and Microsoft to focus on identifying people with TB in India:
* The Global Fund will leverage Mastercard’s expertise in deploying technology to support the digitization of patient records in Africa, ultimately helping patients access health services more easily.
* Orange will provide its mobile technology to improve data collection and access to HIV and TB services, and build stronger health systems, with a joint investment of $5-million to implement programs in Morocco, Cote d’Ivoire, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
* The Global Fund is also partnering with The Rockefeller Foundation to set up a Data Science Catalytic Fund to accelerate the use of data science to improve community health in low-income countries. The Rockefeller Foundation intends to make an investment of up to $15-million to capitalise the fund.
* The Global Fund will leverage Google Cloud’s data analytics and visualization expertise to help identify people with TB in India and explore how artificial intelligence (AI) can assist in faster and more accurate TB diagnosis.
* Microsoft will use artificial intelligence and machine learning to improve active TB case findings and improve treatment adherence, initially in India.
Today’s pledges build on those made by private sector partners earlier this year and during the World Economic Forum in Africa. These include Project Last Mile (with Coca Cola, USAID and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation), GBCHealth, Africa Health Business, PharmAccess and Zenysis Technologies.
The Global Fund’s investment case underlines that more innovation in diagnostics, prevention, treatment and delivery models is needed to get back on track to ending the epidemics. Only through innovation can the threat of resistance be countered, can the poorest and most marginalized be reached, and the root causes of concentrated epidemics be tackled.