In the age of COVID-19, we are more aware than ever of the need for strong, resilient health systems—and that no one sector can drive the change we need, alone.
The private sector has a key role to play in advancing health outcomes worldwide.
Whether it’s reimagining supply chains for improved health service delivery, co-investing in local health systems, or innovating for digital health, companies bring critical know-how, resources, and networks to new global health solutions.
How the Private Sector Can Drive Global Health Impact in Emerging Markets
Below, we look at 4 ways the private sector—from global health companies to financial institutions to tech and telecommunications and beyond—can engage strategically in expanding health access and impact in emerging markets.
1. Advancing New Digital Health Solutions for Patients and Healthcare Providers
Digital health—virtual healthcare, telehealth, and other ICT-driven solutions for health delivery and access—is on the rise. Here, companies can help design, build, and test new digital health platforms and solutions for patients, pharmacies, medical suppliers, and healthcare providers. They might do this work directly, expanding their own healthcare services in emerging markets—or indirectly, by partnering with or investing in local digital health entrepreneurs and promising health startups.
Already, we see large health companies like Johnson & Johnson helping to fund local entrepreneurs, who are designing and delivering digital healthcare solutions to patients in emerging markets.
2. Co-Investing in IT Infrastructure and Devices for Digital Health
Companies can co-invest and help develop the foundational IT infrastructure for digital health solutions, e.g., internet connectivity and cell service. Tech companies can also help expand access to devices like mobile phones, computers, and/or tablets to accelerate digital health.
For instance, we see companies like Microsoft and Mastercard helping to foster digital enabling environments in emerging markets—a move that will eventually unlock opportunities for other products and services like digital payments or cloud services.
3. Co-Creating Innovative Finance Solutions to Strengthen Local Health Systems
Companies can engage in public-private collaboration around designing, piloting, and co-investing in blended finance and results-based financing solutions to improve health service delivery and coverage. Such funding can be used to incentivize and reward new healthcare delivery business models and solutions.
The Global Financing Facility (GFF), for example, has been experimenting with blended finance and impact bonds to de-risk private sector investment in local health systems.
4. Sharing Expertise, Intellectual Property, and Existing Channels for Improved Global Health Supply Chains
Delivering healthcare products into patients’ hands—creating more efficient, effective supply chains and distribution models—is a key area for growth and collaboration. Here, companies across industries—let’s say, for example, an Amazon, UPS, or Uber—can leverage their existing expertise, intellectual property, and supply chains to help shape new avenues for health access in emerging markets.
This might be a matter of tapping existing supply chains or distribution models in last-mile communities or translating an established technology solution to a new context. Critical, here are partnerships with local players, who can help adapt the technology to local healthcare needs and context.
Amplifying Global Health Impact through Strategic Partnerships
Companies can play a significant part in strengthening health systems and improving healthcare delivery in emerging markets. But partnership is key. It’s critical that companies partner strategically within existing health ecosystems to make sure new solutions are set up for success.
This collaboration can take a range of different forms. It might involve pre-competitive partnerships with other companies that share a stake in the same markets. Or it may mean strategic engagement with local governments, key local health stakeholders, local and global innovators, development finance institutions, and/or global development organizations like USAID.
At Resonance, we help companies understand where and how to partner to co-create better solutions, find funding partners, and drive sustainable impact for health. Companies should consult a Partnership Development Expert to learn more about how to partner and innovate in global health.