Five Questions for Ray Chambers on the MDG Health Alliance
Raymond G. Chambers, The United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Malaria; Chair, MDG Health Alliance; Co-Chair, GBCHealth Board of Directors
In January, GBCHealth announced a three-year collaboration with the MDG Health Alliance. The purpose of the private sector-led MDG Health Alliance is to work in partnership with UN agencies, the private sector, nonprofit organizations, academic institutions, and others to support country efforts to accelerate progress toward achieving the health-related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs 4, 5, and 6). The Alliance seeks to fulfill the vision articulated in the UN Secretary-General's Every Woman Every Child movement. The Alliance is organized around seven pillars with specific goals and each is led by an influential member of the private sector. In this Q&A, Ray Chambers gives an overview of the MDG Health Alliance’s strategy to accelerate critical global health goals.
Q. You’ve been an influential leader and champion in the global fight to “end malaria deaths” as the UNSG’s Special Envoy for Malaria. What led you to expand your work in global health by forming the MDG Health Alliance?
A. In 2010, the Secretary-General established a group known as the MDG Advocates—eminent personalities from the private sector, academia, governments and civil society—to lead a series of concrete, targeted actions to boost achievement of the Millennium Development Goals by 2015. I knew from my experience with malaria that business principles with respect to clear goals and outcomes, deadlines, and accountability, were desperately needed in order to mobilize resources and commodities to save lives. Whether working to end deaths from malaria, or from pneumonia, TB or AIDS, I knew that the business principles that helped to make the scale up against malaria so successful were applicable to these other health threats. While I have never taken my sights off our malaria initiative, I could not think of a more worthwhile way to spend my time than by cultivating a broader group to help support the United Nations in achieving these other interrelated and critical goals.
Q. What is it about the MDGHA approach that gives you confidence that it will have a real impact?
A. The Secretary-General has often said that we should look to the private sector, working hand-in-hand with the public sector, to help lead the way toward achieving the MDGs. Coming from the private sector, I could not agree more. The MDG Health Alliance takes private sector expertise and focuses it on these broad health goals to identify increased efficiencies, catalytic investments, and tangible outcomes to complement the efforts of others. For instance, John Megrue, who is CEO of one the largest private equity firms in the world—Apax Partners US—has agreed to dedicate the next three years of his life to ending mother to child transmission of HIV. In order to achieve this goal, he has formed a Business Leadership Council that works in close partnership with UNAIDS, the U.S. Government’s HIV/AIDS Program—PEPFAR, and other private and public partners and they are focusing their efforts on the clear, numerical target—in this case, going from 390,000 children born each year with HIV down to zero by December 31, 2015.
To read more of the Q&A with Ray Chambers, click here »
Collaboration with the MDG Health Alliance Brings Opportunities to GBCHealth Member Companies
Michael Schreiber, Executive Director, GBCHealth
In January, GBCHealth announced major news: Global health visionary and businessman Ray Chambers became GBCHealth’s co-chair; Gary Cohen, executive vice president at BD, was appointed Acting CEO; and we partnered with the MDG Health Alliance to turbo-charge the business community’s action on the health-related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
These exciting developments bring tremendous value to our member companies. Most important, the new collaboration means that GBCHealth will work more closely than ever with the United Nations. The MDG Health Alliance was created at the behest of the U.N. Secretary-General and works hand in hand with the U.N.’s Every Women Every Child initiative. The partnership presents an opportunity for our member companies to play a leading role in achieving specific U.N. health targets that will have an enormous impact.
With the deadline looming for achieving the MDGs, the U.N.’s message is urgent: the global community needs the private sector’s expertise, assets and voice to accelerate progress. GBCHealth and our member companies have stepped up to this call for action. Long after the MDGs deadline passes, we will continue to be at the forefront of improving the health of people around the world.
Read more »
Why the Millennium Development Goals Need Business
Joya Banerjee, Manager, Membership and Advisory Services, GBCHealth
The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are an unprecedented agreement to eradicate extreme poverty by 2015 through economic empowerment, access to health, environmental sustainability and global partnerships. All 189 member states of the U.N. signed the Millennium Declaration in 2000, committing to achieving eight goals by the end of 2015. Goals 4, 5 and 6 focus on the greatest global health burdens in low-income countries and emerging markets.
The MDGs have served to unite diverse stakeholders around a single framework for action, providing coherence to previously isolated, independent initiatives. Through the MDGs, stakeholders have achieved global political consensus, improved the targeting and flow of aid, enhanced the monitoring of development projects, and focused their advocacy around common objectives. In the years since the goals were adopted, the global community has made enormous progress toward achieving the MDGs, yet urgent work remains.
The MDGs have provided a clear entry-point for businesses to participate. Whether businesses are driven by the desire to secure new markets at the base of the pyramid, improve worker productivity and reduce absenteeism, or ensure a stable community in which they operate, businesses have an imperative to contribute to development and health objectives.
Read more about the changing role of business participation »