Social Sector

Back to How We Help Clients

Global Public Health

We work with leading healthcare institutions and funding bodies to improve health outcomes for the people in greatest need globally.

We act in partnership with foundations, governments, bilateral and multilateral agencies, and healthcare companies to address urgent public healthcare challenges affecting some of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable communities. In the past five years we have undertaken over 440 public health projects in more than 35 countries.

What we do

We help strengthen national health systems, improve the performance of complex health organizations, and plan the introduction of new treatments and technologies for specific health conditions. We support clients in shaping health policy and strategy goals, forming and managing effective cross-sector partnerships, and scaling up interventions to reach target populations at speed.

Within our global network of consultants, we have almost 500 people with healthcare experience; 160 are qualified doctors with a background in patient care or research, and 230 have a master’s degree or doctorate in medicine or life sciences.

How we work

We forge relationships between organizations at global, national, and local levels to tackle intractable problems, agree on policies and actions, build momentum for change, break down barriers, cut through bureaucracies, and speed up implementation to reach the communities most in need of help.

The nature of our involvement varies by project, but includes creating tangible results at a local level, developing capabilities and tools for foundations and grant-supported organizations, and building new health entities and improving the effectiveness of established bodies.

We act as a catalyst, bringing together multiple agencies to make things happen on a global scale:

  • Ending preventable child deaths. We helped launch a new global policy initiative to save 45 million children’s lives within a generation by enlisting world leaders to target aid where it can have most impact. Our team helped develop a plan to reduce child mortality to fewer than 20 deaths per thousand live births in every country by 2035. In one pilot project designed to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV in an African state, we helped increase the number of clinics providing testing and treatment services to pregnant women by 95 percent in six months.
  • Controlling and eradicating infectious diseases. Every year, two million children die of preventable diseases in developing countries. To boost vaccination coverage in one African country, we worked with our client to tackle shortcomings in the cold chains needed to distribute and store vaccines safely. In pilots, vaccine stocks increased, immunization levels rose by 20 to 40 percent, and cold chain costs fell by 25 percent.
  • Improving family-planning uptake. We support reproductive health programs by helping organizations to reach consensus on goals, design global operating structures, and roll out in-country programs. In one West African country, our team found the biggest hurdle was stock-outs of contraceptive supplies. By strengthening the supply chain using logistics practices from the consumer-goods industry, the team raised uptake dramatically, with increases of a percentage point a month in one pilot area.

Featured experts

Michael Conway

Senior Partner, Philadelphia

Adam Sabow

Senior Partner, Chicago

impact story

Building a stronger health workforce

Preparing to train ten thousand new health workers a year for Tanzania


Report - McKinsey Global Institute

How the world could better fight obesity

– If the prevalence of obesity continues on its rising trend, almost half of the world’s adult population could be overweight or... obese by 2030, imposing even greater personal, social, and economic costs. Effectively combating obesity around the world may require a comprehensive strategy of 44 interventions as part of a potential Obesity Abatement Program.

Healthcare’s digital future

– Insights from our international survey can help healthcare organizations plan their next moves in the journey toward full digitization.


Social Sector Practice

McKinsey on Society: Global Public Health