Annual Every Woman Every Child Private Sector-Innovation Working Group Luncheon
Kathy Calvin, CEO and President of the United Nations Foundation set the tone of the day when she said that, “All the money in the world won’t make a difference if we don’t have innovation.” The event opened with a panel moderated by Dr. Peter Singer, Head of Grand Challenges Canada & Co-Chair of the Innovation Working Group, that announced the Every Woman Every Child Innovation Marketplace and discussed the central role of investing in innovations to advance women’s and children’s health. The Marketplace seeks to scale 20 promising new innovations in the RMNCAH space between 2015 and 2020, through forging non-traditional partnerships among public and private sector actors, while attracting new sources of funding and stimulating increased country engagement. Dr. Tore Godal, Special Advisor on Global Health to the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, summed up the importance of innovation when he said that, “Innovation enables us to go further with the same amount of resources. It’s fundamental and an efficiency.” All speakers, including Godal, Dr. Kesete Admasu, Minister of Health of Ethiopia; Caroline Anstey, Global Head of UBS and Society, UBS AG; Hon. Christian Paradis, Minister of International Development of Canada; and Walter J.P. van Kuijen, Senior Vice President, Global Government and Public Affairs at Royal Philips echoed the need for innovation in women’s and children’s health and, as Walter van Kuijen stated, “the Innovation Marketplace will allow us to deliver on that promise.”
Dr. Allan Pamba, VP, Pharmaceuticals, East Africa & Government Affairs, Africa, GlaxoSmithKline, and Co-Chair of the Innovation Working Group moderated the luncheon’s Innovation Showcase, and opened the session saying that, “The energy for innovation is here. The people are passionate and this the kind of leadership we need moving into the SDGs – we need more leaders who are interested not just in moving their teams forward but in moving societies forward.” The showcase exhibited seven innovations that are advancing maternal, child, and adolescent health through technology, diagnostics and treatments, financing and training, management processes, and partnerships, including LED Phototherapy from GE; Masimo iSpO2, Mobile-Enabled Pulse Oximeter from Masimo and Newborn Foundation; Children’s Automated Respiratory Rate Sensor (CHARM), Wind-up Fetal Doppler & Community Life Centers from Philips; Safe Delivery App from the Maternity Foundation; Brain 3D from Embryyo; HealthPhone from The Mother and Child Health and Education Trust; and Novel Point-of-Care Diagnostics for Gestational Diabetes and Preeclampsia from BD. One of the innovators, Lillian Kidane, Director, Healthymagination at GE Africa, stressed the need for localization and “supporting communities to become part of the innovation.”
To close out to the event, two private sector initiatives to the updated Global Strategy were highlighted: the Nigeria Private Sector Health Alliance, which is focused on saving 1 million lives through innovation, public private partnerships, and impact investing to create sustainable solutions, and the GBCHealth Credit Health Exchange, which is mobilizing $15M through 2018 to support and help scale health and wellness program, in support of the Global Financing Facility. Muntaqa Umar-Sadiq, CEO of the Private Sector Health Alliance in Nigeria, said it best when he stated that, “The transition to the SDGs allows us to refresh and take stock. We know that despite investments into maternal and newborn health we have not seen commensurate results in health outcomes. It is clear that we need to leverage the private sector.”
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