Panel 5: Global Financing Facility (GFF)

Building In-Country and Regional Capacity – the Global Financing Facility (GFF)

While the Global Financing Faciliy (GFF), launched in July 2015, has already aligned billions dollars to country-led plans for women’s, children’s and adolescents’ health in the four GFF front-runner countries of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania more remains to be done to end maternal and child mortality by 2030. With the private sector now making up the bulk of foreign direct investment, the International Development Association (IDA) needs to work in partnership with the private sector to close the funding and expertise gaps that impede many emerging markets from growing to their full potential. This forum focused on promising financing models, and interventions that are in the process of scaling up through private sector engagement. Additionally, the panelists brainstormed on GFF’s work in partnering with the private sector, including how new partners can get involved, and how the GFF sees the role of private sector going forward.


  • Suprotik Basu, CEO of the Office of the UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy for Financing the Health Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and for Malaria
  • Dr. Tore Godal, Special Advisor to the Norwegian Prime Minister on Global Health
  • Rama Lakshminarayanan, Senior Public Health Specialist and Team Leader for the Quality Enhancement Group of the Health, Nutrition and Population Department, World Bank
  • Dr. David Barash, Chief Medical Officer of Life Care Solutions, General Electric Healthcare
  • Dr. Ariel Pablos-Méndez, Assistant Administrator for Global Health, Child and Maternal Survival Coordinator, USAID

The UN recognized the great opportunity GFF has as the world first consolidated financing instrument for maternal, newborn and child health and got involved right away. Its housing in the Word Bank Group facilitates the de-risking of investments, and allow poor countries without previous access to World Bank funds to benefit from this model. The core of the GFF is the engagement of the private sector and its diverse entities. Private sector is not only useful for financial resource, but for its expertise and technology innovations [Basu]. Norway has been a great leader for maternal, newborn and child health, and was one of the first country to mobilize private sector through the Every Women Every Child initiative. Norway supports GFF because it recognizes that as we move into the post 2015 era, ODA will continue to decrease and needs to be linked to both domestic financing and private sector through the World Bank, which already engages the private sector. GFF builds on the Health Results Innovation Trust Fund, created in 2007 and supported by the governments of Norway and UK [Godal]. The Trust Fund is in fact a part of GFF, which brings together multiple partners to align behind country plans and achieve results on the ground. The success of GFF rests on its three pillars; smart financing through high impact cost effective interventions at the country level, scaling up using private sector and already available domestic resources, and sustainability by helping countries grow their domestic resources to help their transition from low to middle income countries without losing support. GFF investment cases recognize the issue of bottlenecks in the health system in terms of human resources and supply chain [World Bank representative]. The private sector can be seen as early stage investors instead of philanthropists, and leads innovation by providing new ways of doing things, from financing to scaling up. GE Foundation built a cost effective scalable oxygen generators distribution system that could be built at the district level and supply regional hospitals with canisters of oxygen at a very reasonable price. This was a creative investments with little initial risks that’s now in need for sustainable capital to scale it. Private sector has skillsets in business, manufacturing education and training that will be of great value to the global health environment. There was a call for more creative and tactful partnerships. David Barash of GE Healthcare proposed adding another “P” to PPP, making it Public-Private-Private partnerships, stressing the need for greater collaboration between private sector members. As each them bring different skillsets to the table, encouraging members of private sector to work with each other with the support of GFF would lead to greater impact and efficiency [Barash] GFF will need the private sector’s help in reaching out to new players in the field [Pablos-Méndez]. The World Bank has set up an investors group to help incentivize private sector and prioritize needs in a very dynamic environment. The prioritization and appropriation of GFF funds is very country specific [World Bank representative]. Norway sees health and education as the most important investments to build country resilience and prevent future crises [Godal]. GE Healthcare pointed out the need to have infrastructure in place to process geopolitical crises in a way that easily engages public and private sectors. Agreeing with Norway’s view on health and education as key to preventing future outbreak, David Barash attributed the success to GE’s partnership with Last Mile Health in Liberia to their strong commitment to health worker programs as a tool to strengthen health systems and prevent outbreaks [Barash]. Investments being made have to involve health systems; human and infrastructure resources need to be considered when investing in specific services [Pablos-Méndez].