Introduction to roundtable discussion on innovative partnerships and SDGs
One of the most staggering facts with regards to global health is that millions of children, women and men are still dying of diseases that are easily prevented and treated today. For instance tuberculous and diarrhoeal diseases still remain two of the top ten causes of deaths worldwide.
Despite it being both preventable and curable, cervical cancer remains the most common form of cancer affecting women in developing countries. As a result, women in developing countries account for 85% of all cases globally.
Ever since it was introduced in the 1920s the pap smear has been the principal method for cervical cancer screening. It’s simple and efficient, but remains too expensive for women living in the poorest regions of the world. When Kathryn Vizas learned of this, she decided to do something about it. Using her own private funds, she teamed up with experts at the global nonprofit PSI to pilot the use of a cheaper method of screening in Uttar Pradesh, India.
The method is as simple and genius as it gets. Vinegar is brushed on a woman’s cervix and if white spots appear, it can indicate the presence of pre-cancerous lesions. If this happens, the patient can get treatment at the same visit since the lesions can easily be frozen off. A procedure that is both inexpensive and painless.
This project was so successful and cost-effective that the government in Uttar Pradesh has integrated the approach into the state’s health services. And because of this cervical cancer screening is now available to more than 24 million women living in Uttar Pradesh.
Examples like this of innovative solutions and partnerships between private and public actors give me great hope! I am convinced that the only way we will reach the ambitious targets of the Global Goals is through innovation, new approaches and new ways of working together.
Analysists have identified a 3 trillion USD deficit in funding required to meet the Global Goals. To bridge this gap we need new sources of funding, but we also need to find new solutions - like the ones we have seen here today - that can get the job done in a more cost-effective way.
After many years of working on development issues - HIV/AIDS in particular, I have seen the effects of innovative partnerships in mobilizing funding and finding new solutions. This is one of the reasons why I decided to co-found the Maverick Collective in 2013. Our aim is to help identify and train new advocates and develop new health projects that can improve the health and rights of girls and women in the global South. Kathrine Vizas project in Uttar Pradesh is a good example of how we work.
I am very proud that Norway is often taking a lead in finding good solutions and forming public-private partnerships in the field. Norway has a long tradition of working in and with developing and vulnerable countries and we are committed to the Global Goals. In line with this tradition, we are gathered here today to celebrate a historic partnership being formed between Innovation Norway and UN Women. Because both institutions believe that if these goals are pursued in partnerships, it will lead to greater and more widely shared prosperity for all in 2030.
Welcome to this conversation, which sets an overarching question; How can public-private partnerships best contribute to innovations and solutions that help us reach the sustainable development goals?