Publications

June 2019

Global Health Innovation at USAID: Accelerating the Journey to Self-Reliance

Global Health Innovation at USAID: Accelerating the Journey to Self-Reliance examines how the US Agency for International Development’s (USAID) investments in global health innovation are an essential enabler in accelerating partner countries along the journey to self-reliance. It explores challenges and opportunities the agency faces in advancing this work and provides actionable recommendations for the Administration and Congress to maximize the impact of the agency’s health research and development (R&D) activities.

The report focuses on three foundational elements underpinning the agency’s health R&D contributions—leadership, strategy and reporting, and funding—outlining key findings and policy recommendations in each area:

Leadership: Examines the leadership, operational, and decision-making structure that governs the agency’s health innovation initiatives and how its decentralized nature challenges internal operations and prioritization, as well as external engagement with stakeholders. Recommends that USAID fill vacant leadership positions within the Global Health Bureau and establish a Chief Science and Product Development Officer in the bureau to elevate and enhance oversight across R&D activities.

Strategy and reporting: Considers the agency’s five-year Global Health Research and Development Strategy and annual progress reports, describing the benefits and limitations of each. Recommends USAID strengthen its reporting to more clearly articulate investments in product development and health impact, highlighting specific areas for improvement.

Funding: Explores how current resource allocations and unpredictable funding levels challenge USAID’s catalytic leadership in health innovation and how the agency employs approaches to manage risk and opportunities. Recommends that Congress ensure robust investment in global health R&D and that USAID supports funding opportunities that are catalytic and provide flexibility.

The report was informed by interviews with US government and non-US government stakeholders in the global health R&D field and a literature review of USAID’s strategies, reports, and publicly available data.

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