Access Accelerated and the World Bank recently approved joint funding for seven new projects to address barriers to non-communicable disease (NCD) prevention, treatment and care across 20 countries. The projects are designed to improve NCD service delivery, policy and patient care and are a key way Access Accelerated is achieving its mission to transform how the private sector can accelerate global progress on NCDs in low- and middle-income countries. You can learn more about our partnership here.


We had an opportunity to talk with Dr. Sarbani Chakraborty who previously represented the member company Roche on the Access Accelerated World Bank Working Group. Dr. Chakraborty brings a unique perspective because prior to her role working as Global Access Lead, Health Systems Capacity at Roche, she was a Senior Health Specialist at the World Bank Group. She recently took on the role of Senior Specialist, Private Sector Engagement at The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.


Access Accelerated: Having been both at the World Bank and a member company, what do you think is the benefit for each stakeholder of this partnership?


Dr. Chakraborty: For the World Bank, working with Access Accelerated demonstrates that they are able to work with the private sector at the global health level. The World Bank has a long history of supporting private sector engagement at the country and global level, but progress has been historically slow. Some reasons include distrust of the industry at the country level and a lack of understanding of who the private sector is and what it does, and how it can tackle global health. For the Bank to be able to demonstrate impact, they need good examples. Access Accelerated is a strong example and having the Bank leverage its partnership with the initiative to drive country priorities begins the change the conversation on private sector engagement at the country level.


For member companies there are multiple benefits. First, it is almost impossible for a single company to work with the World Bank due to strict conflict of interest criteria that needs to be followed. The World Bank, of course, has to guard its reputation and it would be very hard for the Bank to justify why it works with one company but not another. Therefore, by working through Access Accelerated, the industry can harness the collective strength of the World Bank on policy dialogue and influence.


Second, we get a seat at the table with the Bank through Access Accelerated, and I have also learned that once people get to know each other, distrust and barriers to engagement are lessened. We are able to share the work we are doing with others, generating potential for scalability and transferability.


Access Accelerated: What do you see as the main successes or progress made since Access Accelerated was launched in 2017? Can you share a specific example?


Dr. Chakraborty: I would point to the fact that the global health community and country governments talk about Access Accelerated – and understand the mission. This partnership also shows that it is indeed possible for the industry to come together collectively to address global health.


The most progress is what this partnership has unlocked. For example, Access Accelerated funding helped secure $355mn in new investments in NCDs for low- and middle-income countries and policy change in 14 countries. The World Bank now has a $5.5bn NCD portfolio.


Access Accelerated: What do you see as opportunity moving forward in this partnership?


Dr. Chakraborty: I see a lot of potential. One area is to see how innovative approaches from member companies and partners can be rapidly scaled up. There are many strong, but small examples of innovative public-private partnerships. Through the Access Accelerated – World Bank partnership, we should have the evidence and insight needed so that at least one of our pilot country projects can be scaled up.


The other opportunity is to rigorously measure impact of Access Accelerated and communicate what we learn in developing effective practices in public-private partnerships so that others can learn from the experience.


Access Accelerated: What is a key lesson learned on forming these kind of public-private partnerships?


Dr. Chakraborty: Multi-level partnerships such as Access Accelerated require time, commitment and a willingness of the member companies and partners to listen, learn and grow together. The results of such partnerships are reaped not just in terms of tangible results, but also in the intangibles such as trust between partners and an improved global dialogue among the public and private sectors.