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07/09/2013

EXPERT PERSPECTIVE

Meet the PSD's New Leadership

Paul SchaperPaul Schaper, Merk,
Board Member

Paul Schaper, Executive Director Global Health Policy for Merck/MSD, was recently elected Private Sector Board member for the 2013-2015 term.

Renuka GaddeRenuka Gadde, BD,
Alternate Board Member

Renuka Gadde, Vice President for Global Health at BD, was recently elected Private Sector Alternate Board Member for the 2013-2015, her second term.

As the new PSD Board Member, what are your main priorities for the upcoming term?

The key challenges of the next two years for the Global Fund will be to solidify the implementation of the transformation plan and to successfully pilot and begin scale up of the new funding model. Both will be critical to future confidence of donors in the Global Fund, including confidence of potential private sector donors. This successful implementation will be one of my major priorities for the PSD on the Board.

The PSD brings a unique results-oriented perspective to the Board that is well positioned to bridge between the diverse positions of the donors, the implementers, and civil society.  The PSD will continue to strive to maintain its position established under the leadership of Brian Brink as the PSD Board Member, as a results-driven, patient-centered advocate for effective management to increase access to prevention, care, and treatment across the three diseases.

More internally focused, I think a priority also will need to be to renew efforts to diversify the PSD membership geographically and by sector, to increase involvement of companies with substantial presence in highly impacted countries. This has been and will continue to be a challenge, but one which should continue to be a priority.

Merck/MSD has a long-standing commitment to fighting for improved global health. How did your company first get involved with the Global Fund and the PSD?

Merck, which is known as MSD outside the U.S. and Canada, has been involved in HIV/AIDS for nearly 30 years and has worked to contribute to efforts to fight the epidemic in multiple ways –fundamentally through the development of several antiretroviral medicines, but also through research efforts including an HIV vaccine and, mostly recently, into HIV eradication, as well as through philanthropic programs focusing on enhancing development of capacity to increase access to treatment. As part of this broad engagement to address the epidemic, Merck become involved with the PSD and the Global Fund from the early days and has remained engaged throughout, recognizing the particular importance of the Global Fund as a new model for global health and development.

As the Global Fund prepares for its upcoming Replenishment and the roll-out of the new funding approach, what new opportunities do you see for private sector partnership with the Fund?

The Global Fund is evolving to meet the changing nature of the epidemics it is addressing, as it does so, it could significantly benefit from the capabilities and engagement of the private sector both at its headquarters in Geneva and in the countries supported by Global Fund grants.  The PSD has also been very supportive of the opportunity for companies to second employees to the Global Fund for six months to a year.  The Global Fund is eager to explore how the private sector can bring its expertise to programs in implementing countries.

What do you think are the most important skills and assets that companies can bring to the Fund through collaboration with the PSD?

Every company, in the course of its daily business, especially those doing business in the countries which are the focus of Global Fund efforts, utilizes skills and capabilities that could benefit the Global Fund – whether it is in the skillful management of logistics and inventory, financial and accounting systems, or human resources. The Global Fund is eager to explore ways for the private sector to bring its unique skills and capabilities to help the Global Fund and its recipients to better address the on-the-ground challenges of prevention, care, and treatment for the three diseases. Working with GBCHealth, we hope to facilitate increased opportunities for collaboration between the Global Fund and the private sector. 

What advice would you give peers seeking to become more involved with the Global Fund?

The Global Fund Private Sector Delegation offers companies an opportunity to become part of a multi-sector effort which is fundamentally about increasing health and building health systems in the developing world.  Since increasing health is an essential component of development, companies from all industries have an interest in the success of the Global Fund. The PSD offers opportunities for involvement at various levels of engagement, so companies can tailor their involvement to match their capacity and have the opportunity to interact with health leaders from countries around the world.

As you start your second term as PSD Alternate Board Member, what are your main priorities for the upcoming term?

The Global Fund is at a very interesting point in time as it is redefining the funding model calling attention to balancing the response across HIV, TB and Malaria. The Private Sector Delegation (PSD) comprises organizations that have expertise across all three disease states. The members of the PSD bring to the table both technical and programmatic expertise around these three major epidemics. This puts us in a great position to provide balanced feedback on country proposals and become stronger advocates to the Global Fund. The PSD will continue to drive focus on quality, efficiency and effectiveness to maximize the impact of the grants.

BD has a long-standing commitment to fighting for improved global health. How did your company first get involved with the Global Fund and the PSD?

BD is committed to the fight against HIV, TB and Malaria. Our company has entered into public private partnerships with PEPFAR (President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief) and USAID to strengthen health systems and laboratories across sub-Saharan Africa and Asia to improve the quality and standards of care for HIV and TB. We were introduced to the work of the Global Fund 10 years ago by GBCHealth and have continued our engagement since then.  We joined the PSD, which has been managed by GBCHealth as Focal Point, and this led us to a greater understanding of how the Global Fund operates.

As the Global Fund prepares for its upcoming Replenishment and the roll-out of the new funding approach, what new opportunities do you see for private sector partnership with the Fund?

The Global Fund is the only agency that is seeking to increase its funding to ensure that the progress made so far is not reversed and that we can continue to save lives. Most other funding agencies are keeping their funding flat. So we recognize the need to support the replenishment strategies. Apart from financial support, I believe that the private sector is well poised to make catalytic contributions by using core competencies, be it providing technical support, advocacy or partnerships that can strengthen health systems in countries.

What do you think are the most important skills and assets that companies can bring to the Fund through collaboration with the PSD?

Private sector skills can be leveraged to address a broad spectrum of needs. Think of the range of skills that are deployed when companies bring products to market. These could include country needs assessment, deploying technical capabilities, engaging in advocacy among different stakeholder groups, awareness-building and communications, mobilizing clinical data, product innovation, market development, innovation in supply chain management and good business acumen. These set of skills are relevant to solving some of the needs that the Global Fund is trying to address. The difference is that these skills will not be deployed to any individual product: the product in this case is simply saving lives.

What advice would you give peers seeking to become more involved with the Global Fund?

One good way to understand the ways the Global Fund works is to join the Private Sector Delegation (PSD). The PSD provides a platform to collectively address challenges and opportunities and build a network among different groups who come together for a common goal. There are other ways to be engaged with the Global Fund directly. Their web site offers ways for private sector engagement. Every contribution is important, it does not matter whether it is big or small.

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