Pioneering healthcare models that have a transformational impact on the health of the poorest populations in the world lies at the core of the Novartis Foundation. As world leaders meet in New York to discuss how we can ensure the health of the planet and its people, we at the Novartis Foundation will continue to push for new solutions to some of the most seemingly intractable health challenges we face.
An important part of making this happen is to bring experts together from private, public, civil and academic organizations to exchange ideas and best practice, and catalyze new thinking. Therefore, this week as the Sustainable Developments Goals (SDGs) are announced, we are co-hosting a dialogue event with our Novartis corporate responsibility colleagues on how our broader organization plans to address the growing health needs of populations across the world, in line with the new SDGs. The dialogue event, called ‘Wellbeing for all: innovation for society’s biggest health challenges,’ will discuss successes and challenges moving from the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to SDGs, and the role of public private partnerships in this new agenda.
On this occasion the Novartis Foundation is proud to reflect on 15 years of rich partnerships to implement on-the-ground projects that helped to make progress on the health-related MDGs by improving access to healthcare, strengthening human resources for health and empowering vulnerable groups, such as children or leprosy patients.
For the foundation, what remains unchanged and is particularly relevant to the new SDG agenda is its way of working: always in partnership and in dialogue with local and global partners – with an emphasis on public-private partnerships, cross-sector collaboration and co-creation with the end-users. The Novartis Foundation is grounded in evidence and innovation, looking at solutions that are scalable and sustainable; and always keeping the people whose lives it seeks to improve in sharp focus.
This people-focus means the foundation looks at how to innovate healthcare delivery and not just the delivery of innovation. A new project that illustrates this approach is in Ghana, where the World Health Organization estimates that 27% of adults are living with hypertension, the number one risk factor for cardiovascular disease, yet it is hardly known about or discussed.
Dr. Peter Lamptey, President Emeritus FHI 360 and Professor of NCDs, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, is speaking at the “Wellbeing for all” event. Being one of the key partners in this project, we are excited that the Novartis Foundation is collaborating with such partners to test an innovative model for screening and managing hypertension in an urban district in Ghana. The intervention seeks to improve the control of hypertension by making services more accessible in the community while empowering individuals to control their own hypertension. The program will include technological applications such as a patient-level cloud-based database, electronic guidelines and job aids for health care workers, and SMS/voice messaging systems for treatment adherence, reminders and healthy living tips. Partners include FHI 360, the Ghana Health Service, the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, the School of Public Health at University of Ghana, and VOTO Mobile.
The foundation’s goal extends beyond Ghana and hypertension: it seeks to build evidence on what type of delivery models and technology are effective, and then adapt and apply them to help manage the overall dual burden of infectious and non-communicable diseases that low- and middle-income countries are now facing.
Also speaking at the event is Novartis Foundation Board Member, Dr. Rebecca Weintraub, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, who will deliver opening remarks, specifically highlighting the importance of a shared commitment to partnerships between the private sector and other players.
For the Novartis Foundation the advent of the SDGs is a new era for public-private partnerships and we are proud to be sharing in the global health responsibility.