Successful NGO partnership in the healthcare sector

New generation Public Private Partnerships: the North Star Alliance
Successful NGO partnership in the healthcare sector
Publ. date 18 Feb 2010
Well organised partnerships create opportunities for the effective allocation of NGO's to a higher level. An inspiring example of an effective multi-stakeholder partnership is the North Star Alliance; an organisation which works on HIV/AIDS-prevention for truck drivers in amongst others sub-Saharan Africa.

North Star Alliance
North Star Alliance is using best practices in supply chain management, IT-innovation and inside knowledge of the transport industry to establish a network of access points. These “Wellness Centres” provide front-line prevention and treatment services to transporters, sex workers and transport community membersin Africa, India and Asia. Wellness Centres offer a practical, low-barrier and low-cost response to the transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections among the transport industry. The program core consists of a collaboration between the International Transport Workers’ Federation, ORTEC, TNT, UNAIDS and the World Food Programme. The latter unites smaller strategic and operational partners who interact across 11 African countries. The North Star Alliance was established in 2006 by TNT and the World Food Programme.

Big isn’t always better
When delivering services to fill healthcare gaps, big isn’t always better. The key often is to be found in local knowlegde. Overarching public health crises like HIV and TB are everyone’s problem and nobody’s responsibility. Large scale challenges can entice high-profile initiatives but shut out local actors. These local actors are better placed, more knowledgeable and have more to gain from succeeding. Smaller more fluid partnerships expand universal access without losing focus.
Partner clusters as the vehicle
Within the North Star Alliance partner clusters are used to support a network of roadside wellness centers that extends the reach of national health systems to highly-mobile men and at-risk women. At this moment there are 12 roadside clinics in nine countries. 25 employees work for the North Star Alliance and the available budget accounts for circa 2 million Euro's. North Star Alliance’s business model leverages donor funds and local financial and in-kind support for sustainability. The composition of each partner cluster depends on national capacity, local business and technical expertise.
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