Article by Todd Hoskins, Senior Fellow for the Global Help Desk
Last month, Microsoft publicly announced its commitment to the Vaccination Equity Initiative. In the last four weeks a new consortium has formed – the Vaccination Equity Consortium (VEC) – with Microsoft, Amazon, Dell, Moderna, GSK, Pfizer, Quest Diagnostics, Easterseals, United Way, Kaiser Permanente, the CDC Foundation, the California Medical Health Reserve Corps, and many more. PCI’s Global Help Desk is proud to be playing a key role in this group.
Over the last decade, there have been voices calling for more ambitious forms of public/private partnerships to address key global issues. Don Tapscott created momentum with the idea of Global Solutions Networks, and Steve Waddell wrote a book on Global Action Networks. The idea is that we need broad networked collaborations that attend to complex needs that are both interconnected and contextual. Solutions need to be adaptable, localized, and coordinated, with resources and strategies as diverse as the unique needs being addressed in each region. Governments, community organizations, corporations, NGO’s, and volunteers must learn to share knowledge and coordinate efforts.
In this case, the universal need is greater than “shots in arms”–it’s equipping healthcare systems to move beyond a COVID-survival state by giving more people appropriate, local access to vaccines. Imagine the wide variety of approaches across the globe to health records, data sharing, volunteer management, connectivity, communication, and coordinating at the grassroots level. This is the challenge, one that is technical, complex, and relational.
What is the Global Help Desk’s role? “Not About Us Without Us” guides our journey to vaccine equity. GHD is both driving and evolving the scaffolding and framework for inclusive sustainable digital cooperation, coordinating parties and actions to ensure ongoing trust, recognizing that the future we want will be fueled by friendship–networks of affection. We at PCI are working hard so that the evolving GHD makes sure the present is balanced with the future, prioritizing the voices of the too often overlooked and underserved so their needs are known and addressed.
Building on concepts that emerged at the very beginning of the Internet by Douglas Engelbart and evolved in the work of (US) Federal Health Futures: We are setting up interaction and engagement for local communities developing their network competencies so local community hubs operate as independent parts of the global network for Vaccine Equity. GHD is shepherding digital tools and services to recognize local community needs, knowledge, people and assets, and connect them to global expertise and resources. The work already underway at PCI’s Tribal Resource Center will be the first node of the Global Help Desk network with many more to come.
The world is moving: The G20 2021 High-Level Panel has called for a Global Pandemic Deal. The VEC is emerging as the private-sector body that the Global Deal needs. We know that the success of this network is important in moving toward a post-COVID world, but also important in bringing equity to center stage in the global digital transformation.
PCI’s Global Help Desk helps build local capacity for digital transformation by playing the role of coordinator between networks, governments, organizations, and volunteers. As a people-powered initiative of the People-Centered Internet, GHD is committed to principles of JEDHI (justice, equity, diversity, healing, and inclusion), and supporting the sustainability of networked improvement communities across borders and boundaries.