Unitaid News June 2019 - The Collective Action Issue


1. New milestone: how a coalition led to the order of the first one million child-friendly TB treatments

2. New investment: how much do you know about cervical cancer and our work with partners to end it? Take our quiz

3. Meet our staff: Ombeni Mwerinde on working with partners toward grant success


Unitaid creates pathways for the best health solutions to travel from the minds of innovators into the lives of people in need. To trigger change on a large scale, we mobilize collective action. Our initiatives gather the right partners at the right time, so that innovations can be developed, introduced and scaled up as efficiently as possible.

Working with 127 grant implementers and hundreds of partners, we have introduced more than 60 new products into the global health response. This newsletter showcases how we work with other organizations to give millions of people a chance at healthier lives.

Child-friendly TB treatments hit one million orders

In only three years, new child-friendly TB medicines have made their way into the lives of kids in 93 countries. The success of these medicines shows the power of collective action. When we work with partners, our investments have wider impact.

TB Alliance, WHO, Global Drug Facility and the Global Fund have all played a vital role, together with manufacturers (e.g. Macleods), UNICEF, national TB programmes, funding partners such as USAID, civil society and policymakers.


More than 300, 000 women die of cervical cancer every year, even though it is preventable and treatable. In May 2018, the Director-General of the World Health Organization launched a call for action, in the presence of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the Global Fund, Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), World Bank and Unitaid.

Take one minute to test your knowledge of the disease.


Rigor and flexibility to help grants succeed

Meet Ombeni Mwerinde, monitoring & evaluation manager with Unitaid's results team

Ombeni is an air traffic controller of sorts, keeping a sharp eye on the progression of grants from the vantage point of monitoring and evaluation. It is no easy job, especially as Unitaid's portfolio expands into new areas.

"We work closely with grant implementers to set ambitious but realistic goals, make the most out of available resources and achieve maximum impact," he says. Ombeni, who has a background in computer science, embraced epidemiology and monitoring and evaluation to help policymakers take better decisions.

"An early career in data management with a malaria research programme sparked my interest in global health and M&E," he says. "I see them as an opportunity to improve and save the lives of many."

Ombeni's team strikes a balance between rigor and flexibility to make sure grants deliver on expectations. He works with a wide range of partners to help projects stay on track.

Calculated risk-taking is one of the most delicate, but stimulating, aspects of his job: "What is most rewarding is seeing the impact of initiatives that started off with a high degree of uncertainty, such as HIV self-testing, but are now being implemented in 28 countries."

Global health monitoring and evaluation has greatly evolved since Ombeni took it up: "In the early days, it focused on the immediate impact of projects resulting from budget execution, rather than on a longer-term, larger-scale impact. That evolved to include broader health outcomes and estimates of cost-effectiveness, a big leap forward in terms of accountability and advancing global health goals."

In the coming years, he sees more and more countries shifting from paper-based to electronic data collection and embracing digital technologies. From his perspective, mobile phone apps will facilitate more accurate, real-time data entry.

"New technologies will lead to innovation in data management, greatly improving decision-making and shaping the evolution of M&E," he says.

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