A report of the CSIS Project on U.S. Leadership in Development
By Jeffrey L. Sturchio and Akash Goel
In The Private Sector Role in Public Health: Reflections on the New Global Architecture in Health, the authors examine the convergence in perspectives between those who see business as a potential partner in improving the prospects for people living in low- and middle-income settings and those searching for new methods and new resources to address key unanswered questions about how to catalyze and sustain development gains in a world of growing constraints. There are few policy areas in which these issues are more salient than in global health, or where there is more promise for meaningful private-sector contributions.
In recent years, there has been tremendous progress in marshaling the financial resources, relevant expertise and necessary partnerships to improve global health outcomes in areas as diverse as HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria, the emerging epidemics of chronic non-communicable diseases (such as cancers, diabetes, and cardiovascular and respiratory conditions), as well as in maternal and child health. There has also been a major shift in norms, outlooks and practices around private sector engagement in global public health, coupled with continuing distrust and skepticism in some circles about whether business commitments are real, constructive and sustainable. In their paper, the authors outline the evolving role of the private sector in helping to address the challenges of global health. “The central question,” they argue, “is not whether the private sector has a role to play, … but how to put the particular skills of [businesses] to best use.”