We recognize that we cannot address complex public health challenges on our own, but must address the barriers to access where we believe we can make the strongest contributions.
We know that strengthening health systems and building health workforce capacity are important to improve access to quality health care and to help address underlying barriers to health. Through innovative approaches and partnerships, we invest our expertise, human resources, financial resources, products and market-based solutions to:
- Support capacity-building, including health care professional training, to deliver health care solutions
- Address underlying barriers to health, such as health-system strengthening
- Pursue programs to provide direct access to our medicines and vaccines when market-based solutions are inadequate or unavailable
Despite efforts to develop and implement effective business and philanthropic strategies to help remove barriers to access, challenges remain due to the complex and multifaceted nature of the problem. To address these challenges, the international community must pool its resources and expertise to strengthen health care systems, ensure adequate financing for health and help build local health care capacity. Even in developed countries, challenges remain to reach groups of underserved populations.
We engage in innovative financing mechanisms as a way to advance sustainable global health solutions in line with the company’s overall objectives. Through impact investing, we are able to deploy financial resources in ways that may generate not only improved access to health care for underserved populations, but also financial returns and commercial opportunities—all while growing a sustainable global health ecosystem and attracting additional capital and partners.
For example, in 2014 we invested in the Global Health Investment Fund (GHIF), a social impact investment fund that supports the development of innovative medicines and other health interventions for patients in low- and middle-income countries. The GHIF portfolio companies are already making an impact, delivering more than 6.5 million doses of a cholera vaccine and 200,000 malaria tests through sustainable commercial models.
In 2016, we invested in the Abraaj Growth Markets Health Fund (AGHF). AGHF is developing hospital and clinic networks in high-growth countries in Africa and Asia. The sustainable business model of AGHF is developing commercial solutions to provide needed health services to reach patients who currently lack adequate health care and medical support. In addition to monitoring the financial return on investment, a high-caliber team of public health experts guides the monitoring and evaluation of the social and health impact. As of year-end 2017, 71 health facilities in the AGHF portfolio had provided health services for 1.8 million patient episodes in four countries.
In 2018, we joined UNICEF Bridge Fund the by making a five-year loan to this novel investment vehicle that accelerates the provision of critical health care commodities to benefit vulnerable children in limited-resource settings, including for disaster relief. By providing a fixed rate of return to investors, the Bridge Fund combines timely, high-impact health assistance with sustainable deployment of our company’s financial resources.
We continue to evaluate impact investing opportunities that are aligned with our corporate responsibility priorities and business objectives.
For additional examples of our support for health care capacity-building and health-system-strengthening activities, please visit the Key Initiatives, Giving—Health, Women’s Health and Vaccines pages.
We also recognize that adequate solutions are not always available when patients need them. And while we do not believe that donating medicines alone is a sustainable, long-term solution to the global challenge of access to medicines, we recognize that millions of patients need medicines now. For that reason, we remain committed to donating our medicines and vaccines through organized programs, as appropriate.
|Health care workers trained through our major programs and partnerships1 (estimate)||22,000||137,000||19,000||32,000||74,000|
|Investment in partnerships for activities that address underlying barriers to health, such as health-system strengthening and capacity building (in millions)1||$24||$32||$21||$28||$40|
|People reached through our major programs and partnerships (in millions)1||302||267||188||293||311|
|1. Includes investments by the Office of Corporate Responsibility, MSD for Mothers and our company’s Foundation.|