Philanthropy's ability to heal
Solving the largest threats to global health cannot be achieved in isolation. A myriad of approaches will be needed to make progress in making the world a healthier place. Find out how the interplay of philanthropy, public capital and private investment is making all the difference.
Health spending has been constantly increasing at a rate faster than Gross Domestic Product in many countries. Health systems and governments have finite resources and so we ask is philanthropy the panacea?
We caught up with some of the world's leading philanthropic organizations at the 23rd Credit Suisse Salon, which recently brought together prominent experts, investors and philanthropists to discuss the transformation of healthcare. We sought to explore the impact philanthropy has had on some of the world's biggest killers, where the limitations are and how philanthropy, private investing and government aid can bring about the transformation of healthcare for the benefit of global health.
HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria remain significant threats to global health
Our discussion began with Peter Sands, Executive Director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. The Global Fund raises and invests nearly US$4 billion a year to support programs run by local experts in countries and communities most in need to accelerate the end of AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria as epidemics. As former CEO of Standard Chartered bank, Peter is used to big numbers but explains the still shockingly high number of people affected globally by HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria.
In order to tackle this number and to achieve "return on investment" which can be measured in lives saved and reduced infections, we need more than just funds. To really make a difference we need innovation, better ways of working with governments and the private sector and rigorous date driven execution. Find out more about Peter's ambition in this video interview with Marisa Drew, CEO Impact Advisory and Finance Department at Credit Suisse.
Partnerships and philanthropy
Philanthropic organizations must allocate their capital with a clear vision and strategy and often grant funds to organizations on the ground to implement live saving programs. Joe Cerrell, Managing Director, Global Policy and Advocacy of The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation sees successful collaborations between philanthropy, private sector, public sector and communities as key to ensure long term systemic change. Joe tells us more about the role philanthropy can play in his video interview.
Where impact investing comes in
Philanthropy and giving is often viewed as an investment that when measured delivers returns of a non-financial kind. Impact investing takes the next step and aims to deliver beneficial impact alongside financial returns. Marisa Drew, the CEO Impact Advisory and Finance Department at Credit Suisse elaborates on the idea that philanthropy in many cases can act as the initial risk capital in situations that are not yet investible. She views this as the first catalyst that can then grow into an opportunity for an impact investor at a later stage. Impact investing in healthcare, often takes the form of private equity or venture investments, and due to the nature of these asset classes, should be viewed as patient capital that is complimentary to philanthropy.
The big gains in healthcare
Some of the biggest leaps forward in healthcare have been scientific discoveries, but Sir Angus Deaton, Nobel Laureate sheds lights on the fact that the truly transformative advances in health have actually had very little to do with healthcare but more to do with changing the way we live. The environment in which we live determines how exposed we are the health risks. The root causes need to be understood before gains can be made. Sir Angus stresses that technological advances may well have an impact but history shows us that it is very difficult to predict the next leap forward.
Interconnected approach to transform healthcare
Philanthropy can go some way to healing but not in isolation. Healthcare transformation does not have a single driver. Real transformation will require an interconnected approach where inequalities and barriers to access are addressed, where basic living standards are improved, where inefficiencies in healthcare systems are reduced, where those that are hardest to reach can be reached and new technologies are applied where they are needed most. Only then will healthcare be truly transformed and that lasting impact goes well beyond the beneficiaries of limited philanthropic giving.