Private Sector Round-Table Consultation on the Equitable Access Initiative (EAI)

Nisa PatelNews

Convened by the Global Fund Private Sector Delegation to the Board of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria| March 3, 2016 | Geneva, Switzerland

On March 3rd, The Global Fund Private Sector Delegation (PSD) collaborated with the Secretariat of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria to host a private sector-focused round-table conversation on the final report of the Equitable Access Initiative. The event provided a forum for the private sector to gain privileged access to the final report of the Equitable Access Initiative (EAI).

The EAI is a multi-stakeholder initiative, jointly convened by nine health and development organizations, to build a new framework to better understand the health needs and constraints that countries experience, particularly as they move along the development continuum from low- to middle-income status.

Historically, donor organizations have relied on income classification to determine a country’s eligibility for development assistance, and there is a growing consensus amongst the global health community that income classification alone does not adequately capture a government’s true capacity or willingness to provide equitable access to health for all. The EAI is the self-declared first step in developing a more nuanced health framework that can classify countries by components of equitable access to health.

The PSD convened the event in response to the considerable interest generated by the previous Private Sector Delegation-hosted consultation on the EAI. The previous event leveraged the knowledge and experience of the private sector to inform the development of the Initiative’s final recommendations; the follow-up event in March provided participants with valuable insights into the implications of those final recommendations on the decision-making processes of several multilateral donor organizations.

Participants from 10 companies – ranging from the pharmaceutical industry, to consulting companies, and food & beverage producers – attended the event and had the chance to engage in a question and answer session on the final report’s implications. Representatives from the Global Fund, World Health Organization, the World Bank and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance responded to participant questions and shared their institution-specific views on the EAI’s final set of recommendations. Participants left the event with a better understanding of the types of changes in development funding assistance that the global health community can expect to see moving forward. Participants and co-convener representatives agreed that the first step must be the establishment of more robust data collection systems. Absent the ability to collect nuanced, disaggregated data in areas such as patient access, the EAI’s final recommendations will be nearly impossible to fully implement.

The co-conveners also highlighted that there are larger, philosophical questions for the global health community to grapple with in the context of development assistance eligibility. For instance, some of the co-conveners see a binary decision to be made: should development assistance primarily target the poor in poor countries? Or should it endeavor to target the poor, wherever the poor live?

The Private Sector Delegation to the Global Fund will continue to consider these questions and will track the impact of the EAI’s findings, starting with a close review of the Global Fund’s proposed revisions to its allocation methodology, and policies on eligibility as well as sustainability, transition and co-financing in advance of the Global Fund’s 35th Board Meeting in April 2016.

Nisa PatelPrivate Sector Round-Table Consultation on the Equitable Access Initiative (EAI)