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GBCHealth Insights: Latin America and the Caribbean

Private Sector Opportunities in Health in Latin America and the Caribbean

Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) is an increasingly important region for many of GBCHealth's member companies and partners. Yet the region’s health landscape is changing, with non-communicable diseases (NCDs) becoming an increasingly urgent issue that warrants the attention of all sectors, including business.

This newsletter delves deeply into the specifics of health in the LAC region today. It highlights opportunities for business action and leadership, spotlights innovative health programs that companies are implementing and offers tools for businesses to engage. This issue also highlights several important upcoming events where business can help shape the regional agenda. Be sure to share details of your activities with us. As GBCHealth expands its presence and expertise in the region, your experiences and insights will not only help guide our engagement, but serve as a catalyst for other companies.

Business Booms But Health Crisis Looms

Sancia Dalley, GBCHealth

Sancia Dalley, GBCHealthHome to more than half a billion people, the Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) region has emerged as a booming economic hub. Countries such as Brazil and Mexico are flexing their economic muscles in a way that cannot be ignored, welcoming private enterprises with incentives for long-term investments and seeing the expansion of business operations from both local and multinational corporations.

Yet even with this economic growth, Latin America and the Caribbean continues to grapple with serious development challenges – health being a critical one. Diseases such as diabetes, cancer and HIV/AIDS threaten to halt – and, if left unchecked, reverse – the gains experienced by the region over the last few decades.

That is why business, in partnership with governments and other stakeholders, needs to act now. Below is a compelling, thought-provoking piece by GBCHealth's Sancia Dalley on the region's health challenges and the need for greater business engagement. Dalley, who is from the Caribbean, is co-leading GBCHealth’s efforts in the LAC region.

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Partnerships Tackling NCDs in the Americas

May 8-9, 2012 | Brasilia, Brazil

PAHO NCD Forum in Brasilia on May 8-9The Pan American Forum for Action on NCDs (PAFNCD), coordinated by PAHO/WHO, is a platform to focus on the surging problem of non-communicable diseases in the region. On May 8-9, 2012 in Brasilia, Brazil, the first forum will take place to connect stakeholders from the public and private sectors, build awareness and promote regional action on NCDs. Participants will gain insights into successful NCD collaborations and leave inspired to strengthen existing partnerships and establish new ones that tackle priority NCD areas. GBCHealth is proud to be supporting PAHO to help bring the voice of the business community to its strategy on NCDs in the region.

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Over-Nourished - Can Private Sector Action Help Promote Good Health?

May 15, 2012 | GBCHealth Conference and Dinner, NYC

Over-Nourished - Can Private Sector Action Help Promote Good Health?Worldwide obesity has more than doubled since 1980, and 65 percent of the world's population lives in countries where the challenges of over-nutrition outweigh those of under-nutrition. Poor nutrition is a risk factor for many non-communicable diseases, from diabetes to cardiovascular disease. This panel will bring together leading food industry stakeholders and public health experts to discuss their role and responsibility in addressing poor nutrition, with a geographic focus on emerging markets, including Brazil. Panelists will address some of the challenges associated with doing business in a “bulging” world but also provide tangible opportunities for how business can partner with peers, governments, NGOs and other stakeholders to tackle the over-nutrition dilemma in developing economies.

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Private Sector Roundtable on Health

June 14, 2012 | Buenos Aires, Argentina

GBCHealth and Fundación Huésped, an HIV/AIDS research, education and service provider, are co-hosting the roundtable, Private Sector Action on Health: HIV/AIDS and NCDs. This discussion will bring together regional business, government and health leaders to identify opportunities for increased action on HIV/AIDS and non-communicable diseases in Argentina. In recent years, Argentina has made tremendous strides in tackling some of the complexities associated with HIV/AIDS. The government also has successfully pursued policies to address NCDs, like those aiming to reduce the national salt intake.

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Spotlight on ScotiabankScotiabank has made significant contributions to the fight against HIV/AIDS in the Caribbean – from creating HIV/AIDS workplace policies to co-hosting a regional HIV testing day to taking a leadership role in fighting stigma in the region. What began in 2001 as an effort to protect the bank’s employees living with HIV/AIDS has become a global philanthropic effort to promote HIV/AIDS awareness among citizens and government officials.

On World AIDS Day 2011, Scotiabank announced a new Global HIV/AIDS Strategy, a tremendous step taken by the bank to unite its HIV/AIDS programming across 55 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. Click here to read Scotiabank's 2011 CSR Report.

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Abt Associates

The Need for Private Sector Engagement on HIV/AIDS, Health in the Caribbean

Spotlight on Abt AssociatesUSAID’s SHOPS project, led by GBCHealth member Abt Associates, is a regional resource for mobilizing the private sector to address health needs, including HIV/AIDS, one of the Caribbean’s most pressing health problems. SHOPS conducted joint health system and private sector assessments in six Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) countries in 2011. The preliminary findings highlight the importance of joint private and public sector engagement on health in the Caribbean. The results also suggest that while the private sector has already made significant contributions to national health needs, there is a need for greater collaboration and coordination between public and private organizations to improve healthcare in OECS states. The findings will soon be available on the SHOPS website. Once released, SHOPS will offer technical assistance to help implement recommendations for further engaging the private sector to strengthen health systems and sustain the HIV response.

Learn more about Abt Associates and its work in Latin America and the Caribbean and across the world here.


Spotlight on ValeHeadquartered in Brazil, Vale is a mining company with more than 100,000 employees on five continents. Taking Care of Yourself is Caring for Those You Love is a workforce program in Vale’s Brazil operations that addresses substance abuse issues for employees, their families and contractors. The program includes preventative education, a treatment protocol and a provider network of professionals along with steps to create a more positive, stigma-free workplace environment. Read the full case study

This program is a finalist for GBCHealth’s 2012 Business Action on Health Awards. The winners and commended companies will be honored at GBCHealth’s Conference and Awards Dinner, May 14-15 in New York City.

In 2011, Vale hosted GBCHealth members' event, “Corporate Action on Health in Latin America: Exploring Challenges and Opportunities.” The meeting coincided with the Global Fund’s Partnership Forum and brought together a targeted group of 35 multinational and local companies, multilateral agencies and leading NGOs. Participants exchanged best practices and shared new ideas for collaborating on health programs in Latin America, including a private sector malaria training partnership between AngloGold Ashanti and Vale.


Caribbean Broadcast Media Partnership

Caribbean Broadcast Media Partnership Targets Youth with HIV MessagesThe Caribbean Broadcast Media Partnership on HIV/AIDS (CBMP) engages broadcasters throughout the Caribbean region in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Targeting youth, CBMP disseminates programming with credible information on HIV/AIDS to more than 106 stations in 24 countries across the region. The partnership uses entertainment, news, special events and new media platforms to promote messaging around healthy lifestyles, positive male images and knowing your status, including creative programs like the Live Up campaign, which taps some of the region’s international athletic stars to speak out on the issue. Since its inception, the CBMP has partnered with broadcast media, corporations such as GBCHealth member Scotiabank and national AIDS councils throughout the region.

Fundación Huésped

Fundación Huésped (FH), an HIV/AIDS research, education and service provider, has been a vital advocate for people living with HIV/AIDS since the first case was detected in Argentina in 1989. FH approaches HIV/AIDS in Latin America as both a health and a social issue and is a leader in the fight against stigma and discrimination throughout the region. FH has worked to establish laws and private sector guidelines to end discrimination as part of its effort to protect and empower the HIV/AIDS community. It also trains health workers on counseling HIV patients, develops new clinical research studies for advanced treatments and launches prevention and education campaigns. All of FH’s programs raise awareness around HIV/AIDS and work to improve the quality of life for people living with HIV/AIDS, particularly those in marginalized communities.

Click here to learn more about Fundación Huésped and its work in Argentina

Watch Fundación Huésped’s YouTube Channel for programming on HIV/AIDS


The Mexican Council of the Consumer Products Industry, AC (ConMéxico) brings together leading companies in the food, beverage and consumer product industries. Through a partnership called the Alliance for Healthy Living, ConMéxico recently used its marketing expertise to innovate and implement an easy-to-read labeling system for food and drinks called “Czech and Choose.“ The labels on the front of packages show calories, saturated fat, sugar and sodium.

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Toolkit Call-out

Male Workplace Program Improves Health of Men and Women

Download moMENtum: Male Workforce ProgramEach year roughly 9,500 women die from pregnancy-related causes in Latin America and the Caribbean, most of which are preventable, according to PAHO. Violence against women remains a major health issue in LAC, with between seven to 24 percent of women in 12 LAC countries reporting that they have been victims of physical violence by their partners in the last year. The Healthy Women, Healthy Economies initiative at GBCHealth recognizes the important role of men in addressing women’s health issues through the moMENtum program, which provides gender and health training to men in the workplace.

While focused on male employees, the program helps participants improve their own health and productivity, but also acts as a force multiplier to enhance investments in maternal health, girls’ education, women’s economic empowerment and in reducing gender-based violence – all important health issues in Latin America and the Caribbean. Companies that have implemented moMENtum in their workplaces have seen: a two-fold increase in HIV testing services, 30 percent greater use of family planning services by women and improved morale and productivity. Learn more about how your company can start a workplace moMENtum program.

Download the moMENtum brochure

Access the moMENtum toolkit and case study (Members only)

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Event Retrospective: GBCHealth at the Caribbean HIV/AIDS Conference

November 18-21, 2011 | Nassau, Bahamas

GBCHealth Represents Private Sector at Caribbean HIV ConferenceThe Caribbean HIV/AIDS conference brought together more than 2,000 participants from around the region to discuss the latest developments on HIV/AIDS and health in the region. GBCHealth served as the private sector representative throughout the conference and participated in five special sessions. In partnership with the USAID-funded Strengthening Health Outcomes through the Private Sector (SHOPS) Project, GBCHealth led a session called, Winning the Fight on HIV/AIDS in the Caribbean: How Partnering with Business Can Yield Significant Impact. Panelists examined the role of business in addressing regional health challenges and identified obstacles to engagement.

Download the session summary

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Partnership Insights from the Carlos Slim Institute on Health

Carlos Slim Health Institute Leverages mHealth PartnershipsThe Carlos Slim Health Institute, an esteemed Mexico-based nonprofit organization taking innovative approaches to health challenges in Latin America and the Caribbean, joined GBCHealth members and partners for a conversation about building partnerships in mobile health or mHealth. Learn from Rodrigo Saucedo, a lead researcher at the Institute, on how to build successful partnerships and take them to scale in Latin America through excerpts from the December 2011 panel discussion at the mHealth Summit held just outside of Washington, D.C.

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The Realities of Health in Latin America and the Caribbean

An Overview of Regional Health, with a Focus on NCDs, Plus What Businesses Can Do

Non-communicable diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer are taking a significant toll in Latin America and the Caribbean and account for more than 70 percent of the region’s deaths, according to PAHO. Learn more about the rise of NCDs in Latin America, exploring the root causes of this growing epidemic, including urbanization, poverty and poor nutrition. This issue brief outlines potential avenues for business interventions to mitigate risk factors and improve the health and well-being of the region's population.

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Are you operating in the Latin America and Caribbean region? We want to hear from you!

As GBCHealth ramps up its regional engagement tell us what activities you and your company are doing to tackle health issues across the region. Contact Sancia Dalley at