PQMD 2019 Executive Forum: Transformational Thinking in Global Medical Donations

With ever-increasing challenges facing all involved in the global health and aid community, transformational ways of thinking, operating, and ultimately acting has become increasingly critical.

L to R – Mark Chataway, Julie Hall, Paul Molinaro, Barbara Bulc, Arnaud Berneart, Rogerio Ribeiro, Sean Lowrie, Richard Laing

But what does transformational mean, particularly in terms of donations, disasters, and global health aid? The third annual PQMD Executive Forum convened Tuesday, April 16, at the World Economic Forum, in an effort to address that, and other pressing issues, through an evening of thought-leadership and discussion.

Mark Chataway, Co-Chairman of Baird’s CMC and Director of Hyderus Cyf, served as moderator for the discussion, and was joined by:

  • Paul Molinaro, Chief of Operations Support & Logistics, WHO
  • Sean Lowrie, Director, START Network
  • Julie Hall, Chief of Staff & Special Envoy for Health, IFRC
  • Rogerio Ribeiro, Senior VP and Head of Global Health Unit, GSK
  • Richard Laing, Professor, Department of Global Health, Boston University School of Public Health
  • Barbara Bulc, President & Founder, Global Development Impact
  • Arnaud Bernaert, Head of Global Health and Healthcare, World Economic Forum (WEF)

Much of the conversation was tied, in some form or another, to communities and how aid must continue to lift them up despite any actual or perceived circumstance.

Julie Hall, of International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), highlighted community guardianship and cash programming as transformational paradigm shifts within her organization.

“Where there’s a will, there’s a solution,” shared Rogerio Ribeiro, of GSK, who went on to discuss the importance of creating sustainable ecosystems for both recipients and donors.

Arnaud Bernaert, of the WEF, posited that perhaps there may be neutral instrument built to better bridges the gaps and interests between public and private-sector partners, as well as acting agencies.

Notable to the conversation was also the frequent mention of mental health and non-communicable diseases (NCDs), and how it is an often-neglected point of discussion surrounding acute crises, despite the evidence that it is a health need that exists globally before disasters strikes and only exacerbated in the face of said crises and those it ultimately leaves behind.

“Oftentimes NCDs are ignored in times of crisis, and yet that is often what the “people on the ground” care most about,” shared Richard Laing, of the Boston University School of Public Health.

For many, the true sign of transformation is a disruption to the system and the status quo.

Sean Lowrie, of the START Network, posited that the system and “business” of humanitarian aid is trapped in a reactive business model, and that to change the system (or business) must evolve.

Monitoring and evaluations systems, an often-discussed and hotly debated point among both panelists and attendees, must also be disrupted, added Paul Molinaro, of the WHO. “Metrics can be highly prescriptive and contextual,” he shared.

Central to all key discussion points, though, is simply the desire and passion to have an impact on any community or person that is in need of aid as a result of acute, protracted, or pandemic crises.

“We must empower people to build bridges,” shared Barbara Bulc, of Global Development Impact. “Global risk must be seen as part of the system, and we need to have a bigger vision to that end, and think more courageously.”