During the month of May, IMPACT will be highlighting USAID’s work in Global Health. From May 11-17, we will be featuring the important role of mothers and partnerships in Global Health.
The global health sector sounds vast – after all, it has the word “global” in it – when in reality, it is a relatively small number of people with a noble mission that requires a ton of work. None of us can do it alone. As a result, government and nonprofit groups of all shapes and sizes emphasize the importance of partnership.
But what does partnership really mean? Like advocacy, integration, and other important yet nebulous buzz words of international development, it is best illustrated by example. For us, one of the most exciting partnership activities was the recent global NGO response to the Integrated Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Pneumonia and Diarrhoea (GAPPD).
As the first-ever action plan to simultaneously tackle the two leading killer diseases of children less than five years old, the plan itself is a blueprint for practical partnership in action (or, to use another one of our favorite words, for integration). After all, child health does not exist in a vacuum; while there are distinct solutions for each illness, there are also overlapping protective interventions, so it makes sense for our community to tackle pneumonia and diarrhea at the same time.
More than 100 NGOs with diverse focus areas and geographies supported this integrated approach by signing onto a community statement and more than 40 global leaders and experts in the field lent their voices to the effort. Partners rallied around the #MindTheGAPPD conversation to make it a success on social media (a special shout out to @USAIDGH, the top user of the hashtag!). Each group’s focus area – WASH, vaccines, indoor air pollution, etc. – brought unique perspectives to the larger conversation without taking away from any one group’s mission. By putting it into the larger context, it strengthened our messages on a scale impossible to achieve on our own and brought the global health sector one step closer toward a common goal: to ensure that every child gets to celebrate a fifth birthday.
For the Global Action Plan to truly be actionable, partnership efforts must cascade to the local level. That’s why PATH and World Vision developed a toolkit to enhance the efforts of our colleagues advocating for change at the national, subnational, and community levels. From conception to implementation, partnerships are taking the movement forward.
Follow USAID for Global Health (@USAIDGH) on Twitter and use #GHMatters and #MindTheGAPPD to join in the conversation.