The Evolution of Trust Within a Global Health Partnership With the Private Sector: An Inductive Framework

Document Type : Original Article


1 Global Health Leadership Initiative, Yale School of Public Health, New Haven, CT, USA

2 Yale School of Management, New Haven, CT, USA


Public-private partnerships (PPPs) in global health are increasingly common to support sustainable development and strengthen health systems in low- and middle-income countries. Since the release of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015 culminating in a discrete goal “to revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development,” public health scholars have sought to understand what makes PPPs successful in different contexts. While trust has long been identified as a key component of successful strategic alliances in the private sector, less is known about how trust emerges between public- and private- sector partners, particularly in global health. Therefore, we investigated how trust between partners evolved in the context of Project Last Mile (PLM), a global health partnership that translates the business acumen of The Coca-Cola Company to strengthen public health systems across Africa.
This study draws upon secondary analysis of qualitative data generated as part of the longitudinal, mixedmethods evaluation of PLM across country settings. Seventy-seven interviews with a purposeful sample of key stakeholders were conducted in Mozambique, South Africa and eSwatini between August 2016 and July 2018. Trained qualitative interviewers followed a standard discussion guide, and audio-recorded interviews with participants’ consent. In this secondary analysis, we analyzed qualitative data to understand how trust between partners was cultivated across settings.
We drew upon stakeholder experiences to inform an inductive framework for how trust develops over time. Our analysis revealed five domains that were foundational to building trust: (1) reputational context, (2) team composition, (3) tangible outputs, (4) shared values, and (5) effective communication. 
The framework may be useful for private and public sector entities seeking to establish and sustain trust within their global health partnerships.


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Volume 11, Issue 7
July 2022
Pages 1140-1147
  • Receive Date: 24 June 2020
  • Revise Date: 18 December 2020
  • Accept Date: 12 February 2021
  • First Publish Date: 06 March 2021