Private sector roundtableFormally started in 2014, The Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) has been an important facilitator of international discussion about global health issues, communicable disease threats and their solutions.

Now, the GHSA has launched a new initiative: the Private Sector Roundtable (PSRT). PSRT aims to bring privatized industries into the fight for a better standard of global health.

Headed by Johnson & Johnson, as well as the GE Foundation, the Private Sector Roundtable strives to organize the previously scattered efforts of the private sector in global health issues. Although private partners have participated in previous coordinated worldwide efforts, the PSRT will streamline those efforts to achieve maximum effect.

As was clear with the global response to Ebola, and as is now clear with the uptick in instances of Zika virus, timely responses are of the utmost importance in combatting global outbreaks. The GHSA hopes that the Private Sector Roundtable, and by extension the private sector, will adopt a “unique role” in developing a greater standard of global health.

They hope to accomplish this by investing in and developing new ways to combat the spread of outbreaks such as Zika and Ebola. As stated by the Global Health Security Initiative, “the mission of the PSRT is to mobilize industry to help countries prepare for and respond to health-related crises, and strengthen systems for health security.”

Two years ago, when Ebola outbreaks were at their highest, the rapid and efficient distribution of personal protection equipment proved vital in halting the spread of Ebola. Hopefully, the private sector will help in future fights by facilitating the development and distribution of the equipment and services that the world needs.

Although the Private Sector Roundtable is young and relatively small — 20 companies have pledged as members of the fledgling organization — the future Roundtable could be a powerful international cohort of private companies, aiming to accomplish public good.

Sage Smiley

Photo: Flickr