Kent Buse and Sonja Tanaka

 Reviewed by Josefien Van Olmen

It was the journal that surprised me, more than the content of this paper. A global health topic in a dental journal??!! Yes, read a bit further and discover the wide scope of public-private partnerships, to also reflect on its implications… Indeed, there are also public-private partnerships in oral health, which is not surprising since indeed this is a very relevant topic. And it is laudable that people from the Annual World Dental Congress (in 2009!) devoted attention to global initiatives and gave room to a symposium on this topic. It is to be noted that the special supplement of the dental journal, in which this paper appeared, was sponsored by an (unrestricted) educational grant from Unilever, within the framework of the private-public partnership between Unilever and the FDI World Dental Federation. On the website, the aim of this partnership it to increase oral health education and promotion in countries around the world. Most striking though is the logo with only toothpaste and toothbrushes. It makes one wonder what is the main message/aim conveyed to the general public…

Back to the content of the paper. In 2006, Buse published in Social Science and Medicine an extremely critical paper on global health partnerships, especially from a country perspective (

He has now taken a more global perspective and constructive approach. Based upon 20 evaluations of Global Health Partnerships (in reality often similar with Public-Private Partnerships), he presents common findings, major drivers behind Global Health Partnerships (GHP) and their contributions to global health. The authors give suggestions on how to improve GHP performance and they call for a performance metric allowing comparison across all GHPs, with core indicators around four dimensions of performance: Public health, • Partnership logic, Delivery systems and Governance.

In my opinion: quite interesting, worth reading and discussing, also at the global level. What did the dentists think of it…?

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