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The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Health Partnerships. What it takes to make cross-sector alliances work

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Global public–private health partnerships (GHPs) have become an established mechanism of global health governance. Sufficient evaluations have now been conducted to justify an assessment of their strengths and weaknesses. This paper outlines seven contributions made by GHPs to tackling diseases of poverty. It then identifies seven habits many GHPs practice that result in sub-optimal performance and negative externalities. These are skewing national priorities by imposing external ones; depriving specific stakeholders a voice in decision-making; inadequate governance practices; misguided assumptions of the efficiency of the public and private sectors; insufficient resources to implement partnership activities and pay for alliance costs; wasting resources through inadequate use of recipient country systems and poor harmonisation; and inappropriate incentives for staff engaging in partnerships. The analysis highlights areas where reforms are desirable and concludes by presenting seven actions that would assist GHPs to adopt better habits which, it is hoped, would make them highly effective and bring about better health in the developing world.

Kent Buse