Meet the PSD: Luisa Engel and Dr. Gerhard Hesse

Nisa PatelNews, Newsletter

Luisa Engel
Director of External Relations, (RED)
Dr. Gerhard Hesse
Head of Global Partnering / Vector Control, Bayer
LEngel GHesse
How did (RED) become involved with the Global Fund?

The Global Fund is part of (RED)’s DNA. The Fund was established in 2002 but it was struggling to get funding from the corporate sector and because its charter is to be a public-private partnership, it was important for that dynamic to change. (RED) was started in 2006 by Bono and Bobby Shriver to engage businesses and people in the fight against AIDS. As a result, some of the world’s most iconic brands and millions of people – artists, musicians, politicians, students, activists, and more – have supported the work of the Global Fund, raising over $300m to fight AIDS in less than a decade.

How does your membership in the PSD Advisory Group benefit your company’s health work?

Unlike (RED), many of the PSD members have experience working in recipient countries and within the healthcare industry, so there’s much to learn from the diversity of opinions and perspectives offered within the PSD Advisory Group. Additionally, (RED) is always interested in expanding private sector engagement with the Global Fund and our membership with the PSD provides exposure to the many different ways in which that support can be realized. The PSD Advisory Group provides concrete examples of a variety of ways for companies to engage with the Global Fund.

What advice would you give peers seeking to become more involved with the Global Fund?

Join (RED)!  There are ever-expanding ways to support the Global Fund and (RED) is committed to developing innovative platforms to enable engagement from a variety of private sector companies.  Diversity will play a large role in (RED)’s growth over the next few years – both in our desire to expand partnerships beyond North America and Europe, as well as bringing on partners from new sectors and industries.

How did Bayer become involved with the Global Fund?

One of Bayer’s missions is to address the global threat posed by malaria. As the Global Fund is the largest donor to the fight against malaria, there is a natural relation between Bayer and the Global Fund. Bayer first became involved with the Global Fund in its early years, as a supplier of insecticide-treated nets and indoor residual sprays. Over the years, the relationship has transformed to a more strategic collaboration, with the Global Fund setting policies, funding levels and the overall strategy for malaria and Bayer contributing to the development of these policies through our role on the PSD. We have participated in key discussions such as those on improving the quality of products, speeding up delivery, and improving compliance.  Over the last five years, Bayer, through the PSD, has been more deeply engaged in the Global Fund with the transformation at the Global Fund and the adoption of the new funding model.

How does your membership in the PSD Advisory Group benefit your company’s health work?

The Global Fund is one Bayer’s most important partners. Through our close relationship, we are able to discuss the need for and feasibility of products in our innovation pipeline with the Global Fund. These discussions help Bayer determine whether or not to invest in a particular innovation and guide our internal decision making process. The relationship with the Global Fund also allows us to be more focused and to closely align with the Global Fund’s mission. The need for quality insecticide-treated nets and indoor residual spraying for malaria control is growing. As a supplier collaborating with the Global Fund, Bayer is better able to understand the Global Fund’s procurement policies and to ensure the timely production and delivery of these products in places where they are most needed.

What advice would you give peers seeking to become more involved with the Global Fund?

Regardless of the industry they represent, companies can help address pressing health issues by bringing their respective skills and expertise to the Global Fund. Through the PSD, companies can work through issue-specific task forces, participate in calls, meetings and deliberations to shape policies at the Global Fund. Collectively, PSD member companies have done a marvelous job of representing the private sector and have shaped key decisions at the Global Fund. These highly engaged companies represent the breadth and diversity of the private sector.  Whereas a certain level of commitment, time and expertise is required to effectively participate in the PSD, progress can only be made if you engage yourself.

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Nisa PatelMeet the PSD: Luisa Engel and Dr. Gerhard Hesse