What This Giant Software Company Is Doing to Advance Global Health

The relationship between SAP, the European software giant, and the Global Fund goes back a few years, with SAP putting up $4 million to advance the fund's mission of fighting diseases.

If you don't know the Global Fund, it's a big operation, disbursing close to $4 billion last year toward the prevention and treatment of AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria. There’s no doubt that money like that goes a long way, but the inevitable and enduring question that all NGOs ask themselves at one point or another is “Are we making an impact?”

Even if you can see your money saving lives, you have to wonder: "Could we be saving even more lives?"

Tracking and measuring the effect of funds given out by huge NGOs like the Global Fund is especially complicated. But, as it happens, this kind of challenge of is something that SAP knows well. 

Which helps explain why SAP decided to go beyond check writing, and made a plan to develop a program that would help the Global Fund and NGOs like it track how their grant money is being put to use. SAP didn’t develop this grant management dashboard on its own, though. Along with the Global Fund, SAP had a little help from USAID’s PEPFAR program, and the Management Sciences for Health’s Grant Management Solutions Project.

The grant management dashboard pilot program recently ended and it has now officially gone live in Cote d’lvoire, Senegal, Dominican Republic, Laos, Uganda, and South Africa. SAP and its collaborators continue to evaluate the program, which will hopefully roll out in other countries soon.

The dashboard program allows the country coordinators working with the Global Fund to decide which organizations will be awarded grant dollars. From there, the program gives country coordinators a quick glance of how grantees are disbursing funds and compare dollars received versus dollars spent. The dashboard isn’t a purely financial program. It also allows managers to examine how grant recipients are maintaining their stocks of specific drug therapies and supplies as well as examining the effectiveness of how recipients are using antiretroviral therapies.

The Global Fund and SAP don’t stop there, however. The two organizations have also led the charge in forming a private sector coalition (led by SAP) to support other challenges that not only present themselves in the Global Fund’s work disease prevention work, but in many areas of NGO work—logistics, and supply and demand management. The alliance hopes to bring the expertise of different private-sector companies together to help resolve such issues.

The names of the participating companies haven’t been officially released. However, the Global Fund noted that along with SAP, companies from the transportation and insurance industries have come into the fold.

In short, this is a great example of how in-kind corporate giving is going to a whole new level in some places.