NEW YORK CITY (May 15, 2012) - The MDG Health Alliance, an innovative new private sector organization created and led by eminent business leaders to tackle urgent global health problems, was introduced today in the United States at the GBCHealth Conference. The MDGHealth Alliance announced several bold initiatives, including a multi-company partnership in India to scale up supply and distribution of zinc and oral rehydration solution (ORS) to save child lives from diarrhea, the second biggest killer of young children, and a study that shows that digital technology can reduce by 75 percent the costs of training community health workers, who provide crucial health services in developing countries.
The MDG Health Alliance, convened by MDG Advocate Raymond G. Chambers, aims to accelerate progress toward achieving specific and quantifiable goals to dramatically reduce maternal and child mortality by the end of 2015. The Alliance has organized into seven initial areas, or "pillars," and will address the following issues: 1) improve child health; 2) improve maternal health; 3) achieve near-zero malaria deaths; 4) achieve near-zero transmission of HIV from mother to child; 5) recruit, train, and equip one million community health workers; 6) save one million lives from TB-HIV co-infection; and 7) ensure universal access to reproductive health.
Formerly known as the Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, GBCHealth is a nonprofit coalition of more than 200 companies working to improve the health of their workforces and communities around the world. The two-day GBCHealth Conference, at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York City, brought together the world's top leaders in global health and business. The MDG Health Alliance issued a call to action to business leaders at the conference to contribute their unique expertise and skills to the initiatives.
GBCHealth CEO and President John Tedstrom said the private sector's leadership role will lead to significant progress. "When businesses pull their collective skills and resources toward a clear health goal, they can reach it," Tedstrom said. "We've seen the power of the private sector in achieving tremendous strides in areas like HIV/AIDS and malaria and know that its work with the MDG Health Alliance will move mountains."
"If we are to mobilize the resources needed to save the lives of 16 million women and children, then we must spare no effort in bringing together our collective expertise and energies and together achieve the Millennium Development Goals," said Raymond G. Chambers, United Nations Secretary-General's Special Envoy for Malaria, and who has been asked by the Secretary-General to lead the health work of the MDG Advocates. "Working together with GBCHealth and its members, the MDG Health Alliance will identify and harness the market forces vital to meeting this challenge."
The initiatives announced today include the following:
- Child Health Pillar Vice-Chair Leith Greenslade, a private investor, announced a new partnership involving leading companies that have agreed to work with the public sector to end child diarrhea deaths in India by scaling up the supply and distribution of zinc and ORS. Ms. Greenslade also acknowledged the leadership of Canadian resource company Teck, which announced today a multi-million program to scale up the use of zinc and ORS to 2 million children in Senegal, and called on other mining companies to join the partnership. Partnerships will also be formed in other countries with high burdens of child diarrhea deaths with a global call of saving 1 million children by 2015.
- Community Health Worker Pillar Chairman Jeff Walker, the former Chairman of CCMP Capital Advisors LLC, announced the publication of a breakthrough report on technology-enabled improvements to community health worker training programs, in partnership with the Barr Foundation, iHeed, the mHealth Alliance, and Dalberg Global Development Advisors. A key finding of this report is that multimedia applications with digital content and increased collaboration could potentially enable the training of one million new CHWs at less than a quarter of the cost of disseminating conventional training.
- MTCT Pillar Chairman John Megrue, CEO of Apax Partners US, explained that earlier this year at the World Economic Forum, the Business Leadership Council for a Generation Born HIV Free (the BLC) consisting of CEOs and Chairs of leading global companies, including several GBCHealth member organizations, was launched to support the elimination of mother-to-child-transmission. The BLC is already working closely with UN agencies like UNICEF and UNAIDS, and partners like PEPFAR, while leveraging the skills and expertise of its corporate members, often working in the countries carrying the burden of the HIV epidemic. The BLC welcomes other GBCHealth members to join the effort.
- Maternal Health Pillar Chairman Dr. Naveen Rao, Lead, Merck for Mothers, announced that the maternal health agenda will focus on harnessing the collective expertise and resources of the both the public and private sectors to deliver high quality, affordable, and accessible care and products to pregnant women and new mothers. The Maternal Health Pillar will collaborate with UN Agencies, the World Bank, the UN Foundation, the UN Commission on Life-Saving Commodities for Women and Children, Merck for Mothers and other private health care providers and health businesses in order to achieve MDG 5.
GBCHealth represents over 200 private sector companies leading the business fight for improved global health. Through work that includes developing comprehensive workplace policies; supporting community programs; leveraging core competencies; facilitating leadership and advocacy by business leaders; and brokering public-private partnerships, GBCHealth helps members achieve their global health goals. GBCHealth also manages the private sector delegation to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, serving as an entry-point for corporate collaboration and engagement with the Fund and its recipients worldwide. GBCHealth has offices in New York, Johannesburg, Beijing, Nairobi and Moscow. For more information on GBCHealth, please visit www.gbchealth.org.
About the MDG Health Alliance
The MDG Health Alliance is convened by MDG Advocate Ray Chambers and works in partnership with UN Agencies, the private sector, nonprofit organizations, academic institutions and others to support country efforts to accelerate progress toward achieving Millennium Development Goals 4, 5, & 6. The Alliance operates in support of Every Woman Every Child, an unprecedented global movement spearheaded by the United Nations Secretary-General to mobilize and intensify global action to impose the health of womenand children. Together, we seek to fulfill the vision articulated in the UN Secretary-General's Every Woman Every Child movement by mobilizing public-private partnerships. For more information, please visit www.mdghealthalliance.org.