18 Jul 2017
“A narrow focus on delivering health services through public institutions won’t end [the] three global plagues”

The Global Fund’s next executive director does not need to be a technically-minded public health expert, he said. “The organization would benefit from someone who understands how to structure deals, how to pitch policymakers, and how to reach into the private sector where the majority of people in countries with big disease burdens — like India and Indonesia — actually access their healthcare,” he added.

“He” is Mark Dybul, the man who just completed a four-year term as the Global Fund’s Executive Director at the end of May. Dr Dybul gave an interview earlier this year to Michael Igoe of Devex, which bills itself as “the online media platform for the development community.” An article based on the interview appeared online on 26 June 2017.

“We’re entering a completely different era, and a different approach, and new thinking about how you put health together,” Dybul said. A narrow focus on delivering health services through public institutions won’t end [the] three global plagues, he added.

“To operate a global fund, it turns out, requires a global person,” Igoe wrote. “For four years Dybul has shuttled between the world’s richest and poorest capitals, rarely spending more than 24 hours in any one place.”

For two decades, Igoe wrote, Dybul has been “at the center of a seismic shift in the way global health programs are designed and paid for.” (Before joining the Global Fund in 2013, Dybul served as U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator, leading the establishment of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief [PEPFAR] which he ran from 2006 to 2009.) “A paternalistic donor-recipient model is giving way — slowly and stubbornly — to a constellation of partnerships with strong health systems, not the delivery of treatments by rich countries to poor ones, as their raison d’être.”

Igoe wrote: “After four years as the Global Fund’s executive director — during which time he helmed two multi-billion-dollar fundraising efforts and helped restore the embattled Swiss organization’s reputation as a global health leader — Dybul stepped down last month at the end of his first term. He is returning to Washington, D.C. and to life as a faculty member of the Georgetown University Medical Center, his alma mater.”

“Innovation changes everything, and change doesn’t happen when people stick around for too long,” Dybul told Igoe.

Recently, Dybul was named faculty director of the new Center for Global Health and Quality (GHQ) at the Medical Center. GHQ “will seek to work with international partners to respond to some the most pressing global health challenges of our time,” the Georgetown University Medical Center said in a news release. GHQ will explore new policy and management strategies to respond to global health challenges, the news release said.

“The center will look to include the work of researchers who have a proven track record of leading, reforming and implementing initiatives in complex settings,” it added.

Meanwhile, the Global Fund continues its search for a new executive director. Aidspan reported in June that job advertisements have been placed in The Economist and that the Fund also planned to place advertisements in French in Le Monde and in Jeune Afrique, and in Spanish in La Nación. The Global Fund Board expects to select the next executive director at its meeting scheduled for 14-15 November.

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