Global public goods and the global health agenda: problems, priorities and potential.


Smith, RD; Mackellar, L; (2007) Global public goods and the global health agenda: problems, priorities and potential. Global Health, 3. p. 9. ISSN 1744-8603 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1186/1744-8603-3-9

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Abstract

ABSTRACT: The 'global public good' (GPG) concept has gained increasing attention, in health as well as development circles. However, it has suffered in finding currency as a general tool for global resource mobilisation, and is at risk of being attached to almost anything promoting development. This overstretches and devalues the validity and usefulness of the concept. This paper first defines GPGs and describes the policy challenge that they pose. Second, it identifies two key areas, health R&D and communicable disease control, in which the GPG concept is clearly relevant and considers the extent to which it has been applied. We point out that that, while there have been many new initiatives, it is not clear that additional resources from non-traditional sources have been forthcoming. Yet achieving this is, in effect, the entire purpose of applying the GPG concept in global health. Moreover, the proliferation of disease-specific programs associated with GPG reasoning has tended to promote vertical interventions at the expense of more general health sector strengthening. Third, we examine two major global health policy initiatives, the Global Fund against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM) and the bundling of long-standing international health goals in the form of Millennium Development Goals (MDG), asking how the GPG perspective has contributed to defining objectives and strategies. We conclude that both initiatives are best interpreted in the context of traditional development assistance and, one-world rhetoric aside, have little to do with the challenge posed by GPGs for health. The paper concludes by considering how the GPG concept can be more effectively used to promote global health.

Item Type: Article
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Public Health and Policy
Research Centre: Centre for Global Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs)
PubMed ID: 17888173
Web of Science ID: 208157300009
URI: http://researchonline.lshtm.ac.uk/id/eprint/8696

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