Hi everyone! My name is Emily, and I am currently based in Tehran, Iran. I recently completed my MSc in the Control of Infectious Diseases. I am looking to expand my knowledge of forming and supporting successful, sustainable partnerships between the health sector and other sectors. I have a bit of experience researching the potential for cross-sectoral partnerships, mainly focusing on bringing together the health and WASH sectors and the health and mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) sectors. After researching the potential for these partnerships, I was not sure how to continue giving shape to these from there. Hence, why I am here to learn!
A partnership that has made an impression on me is GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and the World Health Organization (WHO). In this partnership, GSK promised to donate enough tablets of the drug albendazole to countries where soil-transmitted helminthiases (STH) are endemic. STH infections are among the most widespread neglected tropical diseases. They primarily affect marginalized populations in low- and middle-income countries. The drug is effective in deworming people and has been used by the WHO to eliminate STH as a public health problem. This partnership is one of many between big pharmaceutical companies and the WHO to deliver drugs that would otherwise have been too expensive and logistically complicated to countries where the most vulnerable populations suffer. The impact of this partnership is that 59% of preschool and school-aged children who require treatment are regularly treated in 75 countries. GSK has stated that the goal is to deworm 75% of this group by 2025.
Despite its success, to solidify the impact this partnership has made, it needs to be expanded to prevent the reinfection of tablet recipients. What good is a deworming tablet once or twice a year when this group frequently gets reinfected? In my view, expanding this partnership means that GSK invests in strengthening WASH systems in the areas where STH infection occurs. Ultimately, learning more about partnerships will allow me to support and advocate expanding this great partnership.