Cross-sector collaboration and global health

blogimage_globalhealthCollaboration at its best can help address complex problems by bringing together partners from various sides of an issue. Although each party brings a distinct perspective to the discussion, they each share a fundamental interest in finding a solution no matter what the problem may be. While many of our cases focus on community or state-wide initiatives, principles of collaboration have grown increasingly relevant – and in demand – among international organizations, such as the World Bank, the United Nations, and the World Health Organization.

When it comes to health issues, the need for cross-sector collaboration has been deemed a “no brainer” by leaders such as Timothy Evans, Director of Health, Nutrition, and Population at the World Bank. According to Evans, cross-sector collaboration is a key to ensuring the success of health initiatives in the Bank’s client countries.

However, it involves more than just cross-sector collaboration on a macro-level. As we discussed in our review of Larry Summers’ talk at Harvard Kennedy School, and as expressed in this recent article, collaboration must occur at every level – from individual projects, that can then be scaled up to a broader level and recreated across programs.

Understanding what works in each individual project – at the level of implementation – organizations can refine their approach and continually improve their response to health, economic, and environmental concerns. The case studies that we conduct as a complement to our toolkit are meant to illustrate the successful strategies at the implementation level, and provide a roadmap on how to navigate competing interests when it comes to issues such as allocation of resources, and decision-making.