A New Year’s Call to Action from Nancy Wildfeir-Field

Nisa PatelArticle, News

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

In 2016, GBCHealth achieved a significant milestone – 15 years of mobilizing business action to improve health across the globe. We have been humbled over the years by the overwhelming commitment of time, expertise and resources from each of you, the changemakers we count as partners and colleagues. As one of our founders Ted Turner remarked in a recent congratulatory letter: “The challenges are many and great. We know that no one actor can address these challenges alone.”

And make no mistake. 2017 will be a crucial year for global health. It is a time of transition in the United States and globally, with leadership changes in a multitude of countries as well as at the Global Fund, United Nations, Roll Back Malaria (RBM) and the WHO.

With potentially disruptive changes on the horizon, it is important that we as a community are united in safeguarding resources for indispensable HIV/AIDS, TB, and malaria programs, as well as those focused on reproductive, maternal and child health. Additionally, GBCHealth will continue to work to ensure protected spaces exist for business, civil society and local communities to come together to influence global health and development policy.

My team and I are facing these challenges with renewed energy, urgency and focus, reminding ourselves that out of change also comes opportunity.

I have spent the first few weeks of the year visiting with local partners in Africa. These trips always reinforce for me the essential role business plays in addressing the daily challenges of employees and communities. By directing our ambitions and actions to engage more closely with our partners, I believe the organization can maximize its reach and generate the greatest impact over the coming years.

In 2017, GBCHealth will grow our local footprint in key geographies. Building on our work with the Corporate Alliance on Malaria in Africa (CAMA), we will continue to expand on our role as a backbone organization for cross-sector health partnerships and advocacy campaigns, while creating avenues for the impactful work of small and medium-sized local and regional businesses to be presented on the global stage. This local-to-global approach will enable us to further curate relevant services for local partners and provide a platform for multinational leaders to gain key business insights, network, share knowledge and spark new partnerships.

We are excited about a new regional initiative we are developing to this end, and will be releasing more details soon.

Transitions at RBM and the Global Fund also offer opportunities for the private sector to re-assert its leadership in affecting and guiding global policy related to HIV, TB and malaria.

The year will see the Private Sector Members Council (PSMC) on malaria launch several task forces to support refining its vision, strategic approach, governance structure, and priorities for 2017.  We are already off to a fast start planning for the PSMC retreat to be hosted by Nando’s in Johannesburg on February 27-28. The retreat will bring together key RBM board members, partners and government officials and will be open to all PSMC, CAMA and PSD members.

The Private Sector Delegation (PSD) to the Global Fund will also be launching a new task force structure to align with PSD priorities around innovative financing and supply chain management as well as key objectives prioritized in the Global Fund’s 2017-2022 Strategy. Looking ahead, the PSD is eager to work in collaboration with other constituencies to gain better understanding of the Fund’s performance and impact at the country level. The Constituency is engaged in the selection process for the new Global Fund Executive Director (who will be announced early this spring), as well as the selection of a new Board Chair and Vice-Chair. Over the next year, the PSD will build relationships with new leaders within the Secretariat, including the new Head of Private Sector Engagement.

All in all, we are embarking on 2017 with tremendous ambition and faith in the impact of our collective work, as critical now as it has ever been. GBCHealth is committed to continuing to work closely with our partners to reduce the spread of disease and maximize business contributions to the health and wellness of employees and their communities.

We look forward to this new chapter, invigorated by the challenges and optimistic about the opportunities a new year brings.


Nancy Wildfeir-Field
President, GBCHealth

Nisa PatelA New Year’s Call to Action from Nancy Wildfeir-Field