In just a few decades, the international community has witnessed a string of successes in the field of global health. Polio cases have declined 99 percent in the past 25 years due to expanded vaccine access. In the same period, child mortality rates have been halved. Thanks to antiretrovirals, an HIV diagnosis today is no longer a death sentence.

But focusing exclusively on these successes masks some vexing failures. Although effective treatments exist, neglected tropical diseases still affect more than one billion people annually, and tuberculosis alone claimed 1.5 million lives in 2018. Only two years after the end of the West Africa Ebola epidemic, which claimed more than 11,000 lives by 2016, public health authorities were once again faced with a sprawling Ebola epidemic in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The new coronavirus, responsible for COVID-19, has already killed more people than the previous respiratory epidemics SARS and MERS combined.

Why, despite often having affordable and effective treatments available, do we still struggle to address these and other diseases? Development agencies and global health researchers commonly focus on financing shortages while arguing that the solution lies in finding more money. While more funding and new technologies are certainly important, they represent only part of the solution.

We contend that not enough attention is placed on one critical blind spot of the global health community: the practice of leadership. Specifically, the Adaptive Leadership Framework (ALF), a tool developed and widely used to address a diverse range of persistent social problems, can help catalyze progress in global health. It offers a nontraditional conceptualization of leadership that will help the global health community to better characterize the challenges it faces and to craft solutions to address them.

Read the full article about leadership framework for global health by Ashveena Gajeelee, Claire Chaumont & Jeff Glenn at Stanford Social Innovation Review.