Taxonomy of Public-Private Partnerships

There are many kinds of public-private partnerships (PPP) operating in global health today. Here are a few of the prominent models 1

Service delivery partnerships are multi-stakeholder vehicles for implementing global health interventions. These may take a variety of forms from the World Economic Forum’s Workplace Wellness alliance (see Background Resources), to large international organizations like the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition and Pathfinder International who collaborate on the ground to deliver health-related services and products. These partnerships may also take the shape of awareness raising campaigns, using the extensive network and reach of businesses to generate public outcry over a global health issue. Even locally initiated partnerships, like franchising models for reproductive health care clinics and condom distribution initiatives, fall under the umbrella of service delivery partnerships.

Product development partnerships were created to address the realization that, when left to market forces, 90 percent of pharmaceutical research and development (R&D) is spent on diseases that affect a mere 10 percent of the population. For those diseases predominantly affecting the poor (for instance, malaria) there is little incentive to invest in R&D without a mechanism for recouping expenses. PPP models for product development have been created with the goal of incentivizing the development of products to address neglected diseases and conditions, with another entity usually subsidizing the cost of R&D. Some examples of these PPPs are the Medicines for Malaria Venture and the GAVI Alliance, both of which incentivize private sector research on pharmaceuticals with both donor subsidization and the promise of a guaranteed market for purchase and delivery of the resulting products.

Financing partnerships seek out innovative mechanisms for generating development funds. The most prominent of these partnerships is the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberclosis and Malaria, which works through country coordinating mechanisms to fund promising health initiatives and monitor successful outcomes. Other innovative funding mechanisms like UNITAID, the International Finance Facility for Immunisation (IFFIm) and the (RED) campaign were initiated in recent years, to leverage commercial activities for scaling up resources to purchase much-needed medicines. 

More recently, we have seen an increase in coordinating partnerships, or partnerships of partnerships, as global health actors have sought to address the need for greater coordination of activities on the ground, and the need for a harmonized agenda to achieve the health Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) has become apparent. For example, the Stop TB Partnership unifies the activities of more than 1,000 organizations with a role to play in fighting tuberculosis under a global action plan and awareness raising campaign. The International Health Partnership +, with a joint secretariat at both the World Health Organization and the World Bank, convenes foundations, countries, and partnerships in the interest of coordinating activities for better outcomes in
the MDG campaign.

  • 1. Note: While it is more efficient and, therefore, more common for organizations to focus on a particular objective within these types, some partnerships do function with a hybrid model. For instance, a product delivery partnership may also have a service delivery arm to help with product distribution.

 Background Resources

The Workplace Wellness Alliance: Investing in a sustainable workforce

This is a report of the Workplace Wellness Alliance, a consortium of companies committed to advancing wellness in the workplace, spearheaded by the World Economic Forum.

Stop TB Partnership: Learn more about how this partnership is leading the way to a world without tuberculosis

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