The benefits of PPPs in global health
Seth Berkley, GAVI CEO
25 March 2014
If countries are healthier and more prosperous, then we all benefit. After all, global health means economic health.
This is one reason why many governments in wealthier countries have helped fund disease prevention in developing countries, far outside their borders. It’s the right thing to do, but it’s also smart policy. Global health is a fundamental cornerstone of a vibrant global economy.
In particular, children’s health — starting with immunization — has the power to fundamentally change the economic progress of developing countries beyond the basic benefit of saving lives and improving health. Vaccines are a far better value than treating disease. By keeping people healthy, vaccines also help break the cycle of poverty, enabling children to be better nourished and go to school; parents to work more productively; and countries thereby to attract foreign investment that brings trade, infrastructure and technology.
Healthy kids mean healthy families, communities and societies. This makes the economic, education and labor impact of vaccines immense. It is truly a proven, sustainable approach to development. But with government budgets squeezed and many on-the-ground challenges outside of their expertise, governments cannot do this alone. How do we get to the next level? Businesses have the ability to rally the public by providing solutions and applying know-how to problems of any size. One example of this public-private partnership model is my organization, the GAVI Alliance, whose mission is to save children’s lives and protect people’s health by increasing access to immunization in developing countries. Since 2000, GAVI has helped immunize more than 440 million children and prevent 6 million deaths in the process.
The private sector has become an important partner in this cause. There is a growing corporate awareness that the world’s biggest health challenges — including how to reach the 22 million children who go un-vaccinated each year — also have profound economic implications. Vaccine-preventable diseases, such as pneumonia, measles and deadly diarrhea, take an enormous toll on people in developing countries. Companies recognize that their competitiveness and the health of communities where they do business are mutually dependent. We all are stakeholders.
It is imperative that both the public and private sectors work together. Businesses have invested in GAVI because they know that one of the strongest ways to promote global health is through immunization. And quite simply, vaccines provide a strong return on investment…