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UNU Press Publishes Book on Partnerships for Women’s Health


By: Martina Timmermann, TIMA International

Every minute, at least one woman dies from pregnancy or childbirth complications while twenty more suffer injury, infection, or disease. Despite medical advances and years of national and international policy declarations, this tragic situation remains particularly severe in developing countries.

In December 2009, UNU Press published a book titled “Partnerships for Women’s Health: Striving for Best Practice within the UN Global Compact”. The book analyzes a UN Global Compact public-private partnership case study on women’s maternal and reproductive health in India – undertaken by the German company KARL STORZ Endoscopy and German Technical Cooperation (GTZ) during 2005-2007 and 2008. Whereas the company and the GTZ were sharing the costs and implementation including the on-the-ground monitoring, United Nations University functioned as final assessment partner with the duty to organize international expert workshops, condense their input and make it available to the wider UN and international governmental and corporate public through publications.

This book draws together insights and experiences of development practitioners, policymakers, academic experts, and private sector partners to describe the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI). A public-private partnership based in India, the WHI took a new approach to solving the apparently intractable problem of poor women’s health. The observations and analyses in this volume describe how the WHI implemented a project that would make a real difference in women’s lives, while meeting private sector commercial goals. By opening the project to independent assessment, the WHI articulated new standards for best practice in public private partnership, including such issues as communications, objective setting, ongoing partnership management, and real health outcomes. While helping the WHI grow and expand to other regions, these standards can also inform and shape other effective public-private partnerships in the future.

Authors include Mary Robinson (foreword), Klaus Leisinger and Paul Hunt, among others, and the book also include the views and voices of the company, German Technical Cooperation (GTZ), the medical doctors involved in the project as well as high profile academic experts commenting on the challenges of maternal and reproductive health in India and beyond, the health needs of women, the role of business in meeting such challenges via PPP, the role SMEs can play in the UN’s efforts to meet the health related Millennium Development Goals, and the role the UN Global Compact can play in and for such efforts.

For more information, please contact Martina Timmermann, Vice President, TIMA International GmbH.