Aug 21 2015 Proposed multi-sector global health alliance positioned to extend the reach of Georgia-based organizations
In Georgia, where many academic, philanthropic, government, and commercial organizations are working to address global health issues, the newly-proposed Georgia Global Health Alliance (GGHA) hopes to extend the reach of these entities by serving as a connector and catalyst for collaboration. GGHA will work to connect Atlanta- and Georgia-based organizations “under a synergistic and collaborative structure that augments each member’s individual programs and provides a unique opportunity for new and innovative models of collaboration and support in the service of global health,” according to GGHA’s website.
Dr. Russell Medford, Managing Partner of Salutramed Group, worked with the Task Force for Global Health and the National Health Museum, with additional guidance from the Washington Global Health Alliance, to propose the GGHA (formal launch forthcoming). The initiative is partially funded by a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation grant.
Mapping the landscape of Georgia’s global health organizations will be a top priority for GGHA, Medford wrote recently in the Saporta Report. This mapping exercise will be key in identifying potential partnerships and illustrating the health and economic impact of these organizations.
GGHA aspires to extend the reach of all sectors, including those mission-based, for-profit companies in the life sciences who are providing products and services that could prove beneficial in global health efforts. One such company, cited by Medford in his recent article, is Livful. The company developed an enhanced mosquito repellent and antiseptic wipe that could be useful to combatting malaria in developing countries but lacked on-the-ground experience in the areas of the world most affected by malaria — key in getting their product to those who need it. The GGHA’s framework for collaboration could more efficiently bridge LivFul to a network of non-profit partners with expertise on malaria in developing countries and enable LivFul to amplify the impact of its work.
“An alliance could help us identify relevant Georgia organizations working in malaria and bring us together with them.”
A connector and catalyst like GGHA knits all sectors together and creates opportunity for leaders of companies such as LivFul to create partnerships more efficiently. One barrier to cross-sector collaboration is the difficulty of identifying and connecting with potential partners. Andy Mahler, President of LivFul, spoke recently to the time and effort that went into selecting appropriate partners to work on malaria prevention, noting, “We’ve had to do a lot of work to find these NGOs. An alliance could help us identify relevant Georgia organizations working in malaria and bring us together with them.”
In gathering internationally recognized organizations, such as academic institutions, non-profit and non-governmental organizations, corporations, government agencies, and trade associations, under one umbrella, GGHA would make it easier for stakeholders to employ a tactic our Toolkit refers to as Engage Potential Partners. Engaging stakeholders allows would-be collaborators to learn about existing networks and efforts that are tackling the same issue and to align potential partners’ interests and resources to more effectively reach the desired outcomes.
“Collaboration is absolutely critical in global health. The problems are far too large and costly for any one organization to solve on its own.”
Leaders in the global health field have recently highlighted the importance of collaboration in addressing complex health issues. “Collaboration is absolutely critical in global health. The problems are far too large and costly for any one organization to solve on its own,” Medford wrote. In an article published earlier this year, Mark Rosenberg, President and CEO of the Task Force for Global Health, also expressed the need for collaboration among governments, non-profits, and businesses in tackling these issues. “Programs to control and eliminate neglected tropical diseases have only succeeded because of sustained collaborations among endemic countries, global health organizations, pharmaceutical companies, and donors,” he explained.