By Valerie Parker

In addition to what my group member Emily Rains has provided for this topic, I would like to supplement it with a reflection style blog, instead of the typical Op-Ed, with a variety of discussion-starting questions contained at the end, split into three separate thematic categories.

Throughout this class we have discussed different diseases that contribute to the global burden of health. We have also broached topics from more macro points of view through lectures on policy among others. In the past week, as we approached topics such as engineering in Global Health we began to address the role that people play in the field of global health, as human resources and capital, as the drivers of healthcare innovation. Healthcare providers are obviously crucial to the success of the field.

What I found to be most interesting about this past lecture by Dr. Moe was the shift in focus from the obvious human resources in global health (doctors and nurses), to those less thought about such as health care innovators and companies. Before this class, I personally struggled to place private business within the health care delivery framework on a national scale. I had not thought of businesses in that way before. With One Family Health’s approach in Rwanda I began to see the benefits of such an approach, as well as the different businesses all around me that embody this notion.

Throughout the lecture we broached a variety of general themes regarding the listed topic: Human Resources in Global Health. In addition to what my partner has submitted regarding this topic, I would like to contribute my own starting points for discussion as well.

My first questions are in regard to funding. Given the setbacks incurred by One Family Health, what are some suggestions for other business to model their approach? Would it be feasible to exclusively rely on one approach to gathering fund? How can the interests of both the small healthcare business such as One Family Health and a large corporation such as GSK be balanced in a manner that ensures continued collaboration and mutual success?

Another set of questions I have is in regards to public/private partnerships. Over time it seems that One Family Health developed a contentious role between the company and the government. In class, we discussed a variety of reason as to why this might be the case. I was curious whether anyone had any other notions as to why this may be the case? I’d also like to know if anyone had suggestions about how to avoid this in future endeavors as well as how to navigate public/private partnerships within the constantly changing political landscape of a nation?

Finally, my last set of questions pertains to what one could consider the fatal flaw, or rather the Achilles Heel of One Family Health: the inability and failure to collect useful metrics on the impact of their innovative healthcare solution. What are some suggestions (or possibly incentives) that you can think of which would discourage other healthcare innovators and entrepreneurs from going down a similar path? How might One Family Health begin to extricate themselves from this negative feedback loop of lack of metrics which in turn leads to a lack of funders? How can such an extensive data collection enterprise be undertaken without diverting funds from providing quality patient care or compromising other key aspects of the business?