The large-scale cooperation between governments and pharmaceutical companies to invest in vaccines for COVID-19 is one example. Governments rely on vaccine producers to do everything they can to develop a functioning vaccine, while governments commit to purchasing the vaccines – even if they fail. In return, concessions are made on pricing, transparency is increased, and risks are shared in unprecedented ways. This type of collaboration may well pave the way to better understanding between sectors, and certainly more collaboration, also after the crisis.
By suggesting all parties let go of some control, I’m not suggesting we skip important checks and balances. It’s about approaching partnerships with a willingness to keep an eye on the bigger picture – the big goal – also allowing for missteps and agreeing on how to act when one is taken.
This is what we’re doing with the primary care fund we’re aiming to set up in collaboration with other parties, with the shared goal of accelerating large-scale transformation of primary care in Africa. Why are we doing this? We all know that primary care is the best way to achieve UHC. At the same time, it remains heavily underinvested in. At Philips, we have developed a number of service delivery innovations in primary care that could work at scale. But when we looked around for a primary care investment vehicle to scale these projects, we discovered that they did not exist. That’s why we decided to develop a fund ourselves.
To ensure the fund was aligned with real needs, we asked the UNFPA, AMREF, UN SDG Partnership Platform Kenya, and the Kenyan Ministry of Health to help us define the criteria by which to measure success of the fund and its investments. So instead of Philips determining the criteria for success, we’ve asked the representatives of the future beneficiaries to feed in. In addition, we are looking for the fund to be hosted and managed by independent organizations and opening it to non-Philips projects. We’re giving away a lot of the control with the view that we’ll be able to pull together a fund that impacts far more people than if we were to go it alone.