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Partnerships in a Time of COVID-19 Conference Learning Points and Key Reflections

Over 400 people from 44 countries gathered for the second COVID Partnerships virtual conference on the 19th of March 2021.

This report documents the immense challenges involved. We discussed the inequality of access to vaccinations; the growing pressure on health workers, both physical and mental; the secondary impacts of COVID-19 on essential health services; as well as the direct ways in which we can support each other to respond to COVID-19 itself and learn for future pandemics. It also provides a roadmap for that recovery of energy and optimism which is so important to us. The Health Partnership approach will survive, not least because of the extraordinary work of the very many individuals involved.

The funding program Hospital Partnerships in now OPEN!

The funding program Hospital Partnerships – Partners Strengthen Health is entering the next round for the funding line “Global”: For the 9th time we will fund german medical and healthcare experts, who would like to apply for funding within the framework of their hospital partnerships with a sum of up to 50.000 Euro.

The German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the foundation Else Kröner-Fresenius (EKFS) jointly initiated the Hospital Partnerships funding program in 2016. The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH is responsible for the implementation and gives support in the fields of finance and contracts, project management and communications.

The application platform will open on May 15th and close on June 28th 2021. Applications are only possible during this period of time via the online portal. You will find further information about our funding program and the application process on the website and in our video clip on YouTube.

Webinar 1: Evaluating Institutional Health Partnerships ​​

Streamed on Friday 30 April 

Institutional Health Partnerships are important, and the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted their importance even more. At the same time it is important that these partnerships are truly equal, allowing for mutual learning. It is therefore important not only to evaluate the implementation of a specific project, but the quality of the partnership itself.  In this we webinar we invited our speakers to discuss the following:  

  • Why should we evaluate Institutional partnerships? 
  • How can we make the most of the results of such an evaluation? 
  • Lessons learnt from the partnerhips’ evaluation processes. 


  • Vicky Doyle, Director, Capacity Development International
  • Ahmed Razavi, Consultant in global public health and the Africa portfolio lead for the IHR Strengthening Project at Public Health England. 
  • David Weakliam, Global Health Programme Director in the Health Service Executive in Ireland. ESTHER Ireland 

We are an alliance of governments and allied organizations. Our members engage institutions in effective and sustainable North-South partnerships. Our partnerships strengthen the capacity of the health workforce and institutions to provide quality health services for people in low and middle-income countries. We promote institutional health partnerships through knowledge generation, sharing best practice, collaboration, and advocacy.


The ESTHER Alliance is set in the general framework of the Sustainable Development Goals. We contribute mostly to SDG 3 Good Health and Wellbeing and SDF 17 Partnerships for the Goals. Those two goals taken together highlight not only what we want to achieve (better health for all, or Universal Health Coverage), but also how we want to achieve it (through better, more equal, and balanced partnerships.


This is a new tool for institutional health partnerships, EFFECt stands for EFFective in Embedding Change.  The tool specifically focusses on assessing implementation best practice, embedding change and the added benefits to individuals and institutions of using a partnership approach.  The EFFECt tool measures these in relation to capacity building activities irrespective of the focus of the specific intervention.