COVID-19 Webinars

Streamed: Friday 28th August 2020, at 

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of institutional health partnerships. In the time when most of the countries were urged to focus internally in order to fight the pandemic, health institutions from lower, middle- and high-income countries that are involved in long-term institutional partnerships held on their partnerships and continued in supporting, collaborating and exchanging learning and expertise with their partners 

In this we webinar speakers were invited to discuss the following:  

  • What was the value of the institutional health partnerships for the partners involved during the COVID-19 pandemic 
  • How did different health partnerships respond to the pandemic? Practical example.  
  • Lessons learnt from the partnership’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  


  • David Weakliam, Global Health Programme Director in the Irish Health Service Executive (HSE). He represents Ireland in the ESTHER Alliance for Global Health Partnerships. He is Adjunct Professor in global health at University College Dublin. 
  • Desalegn Bekele Taye, Coordinator of Quality Improvement case team at the Ministry of Health, Ethiopia. He is Health care quality and safety advocate professional with an MD from Bahir Dar University.  
  • Francis Nyakoojo is the Emergency Programme Manager with Concern Worldwide for the past 4 years. A medical doctor by training, Francis has over 10 years, practical experience coordinating and managing projects in humanitarian and development context in different countries in Africa. Currently, Francis is coordinating the Concern, GOAL and Trocaire consortium that is working alongside the ministry of health and sanitation to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic in Serra Leone. 
  • Joe Gallagher is a GP in The Palms GP Surgery in Gorey, County Wexford. The surgery is involved in a partnership with St John’s Hospital in Malawi, focusing on non-communicable diseases. During the pandemic the partnership has pivoted to COVID-19 with unexpected results. Joe is also a clinical associate professor in the School of Medicine at University College Dublin. 
  • Olimjon Saidmamatov, is a researcher at Urgench State University, Uzbekistan. Using ESTHER start-up grant, he is connecting gynaecology surgeons of Fribourg Cantonal Hospital and Urgench Perinatal Hospital towards introducing spinal anaesthesia practices in laparoscopic surgeries. Along with that, ESTHER project coordinator – Dr.Attila Major will arrange training in Uzbekistan in November 2020. 

A recording of this webinar  will be available on our YouTube channel, along with the previous webinars.

This series of webinars will focus on healthcare professionals and overseas staff working in Global Health in the era of COVID-19These webinars will be held each Friday and we will host experts to discuss several COVID-19 topics that concern health professionals working in global health.

It is a joint initiative between ESTHER Alliance for Global Health Partnerships and Irish Global Health Network.

There will be a questions and answers session with attendees to conclude the webinar, please send us your questions in advance to:  

Stay tuned every Friday at 12:00 pm GMT, 1:00 pm Irish time (GMT+1). 


17th Webinar: Men and Covid 19 – How are men affected by Covid 19 and how can the response better include them?

Streamed on 17 July 2020


Gender Equality is a central component of any humanitarian to development response. In the context of Covid 19 this is also the case. Women and Men, Boys and Girls are all affected by Covid 19. Much of the commentary so far indicates that women are more affected by Covid 19 in terms of high numbers of cases and serious secondary consequences around domestic violence for example. However, men seem more prone to severe episodes of the disease (perhaps related to diet and smoking) and more likely to die than women. Men also work in sectors of the economy, transport and construction for example, that might put them at a high risk.  

This discussion will put a specific focus on men, the impact of Covid 19 on them directly and indirectly. It will also explore how well the response is addressing the particular needs of men. 

Our speakers will be invited to address the following key questions:  

  • What disaggregated data exists on Covid 19 with respect to men 
  • How is Covid 19 impacting on men and how are they coping 
  • What should the response be doing more of to better meet the needs of men, women, boys and girls 


  • Noel Richardson, Director of the National Centre for Men’s Health in Ireland
  • Professor Maria Lohan, Chair in Social Sciences and Health, Queens University Belfast
  • Gary Barker, President and CEO, Promundo-US
  • Prof Luke Clancy, Director General, TobaccoFree Research Institute Ireland


  • Niall Roche WaSH and Environmental Consultant
  • Hala Ali Co-coordinator for ESTHER Alliance for Global Health Partnerships

Webinar 16: Leaving No One Behind: Social Inclusion, Disability and Vulnerable Groups

Streamed on 3rd July 2020

Note: This full session is interpreted into Irish Sign Language by Ms. Bernadette Ferguson.

Covid-19 has been described as ‘the Great Leveller’ with the virus not recognising borders, social class or wealth. With everyone at risk the view that we are all in this together has been promoted. However, some groups are disproportionately affected. The virus has served to highlight pre-existing inequalities and it is likely that by the end of the pandemic these inequalities will have been widened. Persons with disabilities, migrants, persons living in direct provision centres and women have all been negatively affected in different ways. This seminar will explore the negative impacts but will also look at some of the positive impacts for these groups including positive actions that have been taken and opportunities for the future.  


Ros Tamming, National Disability Authority   

Mary Keogh, Director, Disability Inclusive Development, CBM  

Aidan Leavy Independent Consultant in Diversity & Inclusion 

Margaret Fitzgerald, National Public Health Lead for Social Inclusion and Vulnerable Groups, National Social Inclusion Office, HSE

Professor Ruairi BrughaFormer Head of Epidemiology and Public Health, RCSI, Ireland 


Webinar 15: Malnutrition across the spectrum and the increased health risks during the COVID-19 pandemic

Streamed on: 26th June 2020 

Malnutrition and poor metabolic health, including obesity and diabetes, is strongly linked to worse Covid-19 outcomes due to a compromised immune system.   There is disproportionally higher levels of hunger and malnutrition alongside the increasing trends of obesity and diabetes seen in low income countries and this is compounded with weak health systems at baseline which is particularly concerning in fragile states.   This webinar will review the current global pandemic and the risks through a nutrition and health lens; what the research gaps are; what can be done to strengthen current programmes and how to manage risk and prevent increased mortality through indirect consequences.  Finally identifying key priorities going forward and how to ensure evidence based recommendations translate into practice in a timely manner. 

Our speakers will be invited to address the following key questions 

  •  What are the current nutritional and health challengesknowledge and evidence gaps that are compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic 
  • What key priorities should be adopted to reduce risk and overall mortality in implementing nutrition and health programmes within the current global pandemic? (What would this look like in reality if implemented?)   
  • What should change as we emerge from this pandemic; should our public health programmes be refocused and what are the research priorities needed to help shape future programmes for nutrition and health?       


  • Dr Timothy Roberton,Johns Hopkins School of Public Health.
  • Marie Mc Grath. Emergency Nutrition Network (ENN).
  • Sajia Mehjabeen Nutrition Advisor,SAL, Concern located in Bangladesh.
  • Suzana Almoosawi, Public Health Nutritionist, Nutritional Epidemiologist
  • Professor Ruairi BrughaFormer Head of Epidemiology and Public Health, RCSI, Ireland 

Webinar 14: Leaving No One Behind: Keeping up Essential Services for NCD Patients in Ethiopia during the Time of COVID-19 Response

Streamed on: 19th June 2020 

Ethiopia and many other countries in sub-Saharan Africa quickly responded with a broad range of public health measures to address the covid-19 pandemic. Lock-down has led to reduced individual mobility, hospital preparedness has led to reduction in health service and individuals experience uncertainty and fear. Patients with chronic cardiac and pulmonary disease, diabetes and cancer are especially vulnerable since they need continuous health service and care, and they are considered at high risk to the infection. This discussion will reveal the challenges of maintaining essential care for chronic disease patients in Ethiopia.  

Our speakers will be invited to address the following key questions: 

  • What are the specific challenges and options to support patients with chronic diseases in Ethiopia? 
  • What are needs and solutions on health care provider side to maintain essential service for chronic disease patients? 
  • How can interdisciplinary and international collaborations contribute to improve the situation? 


Prof. Adamu Addissie, Medical Doctor, School of Public Health, Addis Ababa University 

Dr. Desalew Mekonnen, Consultant Internist and Cardiologist, OPD Tikur Anbessa Hospital, Addis Ababa University 

Mrs. Bezawit Ketema, Lecturer at School of Public Health, Addis Ababa University 

Dr. Yoseph Mamo, THENA country director and Internal Medicine Doctor. 

Mr. Wondwosen Berhe, NCD team leader at Addis Ababa Regional Health Bureau 

Professor Ruairi BrughaFormer Head of Epidemiology and Public Health, RCSI, Ireland 


Prof. Mirgissa Kaba (Moderator), Associate Professor at School of Public Health, Addis Ababa University 

Webinar 13: Exploring a planetary health response to the COVID-19 Pandemic

Streamed on: 12th June 2020 

This pandemic serves as a turning point in the global health landscape. The planetary health movement, which incorporates global public health with environmental and animal health, could be a way forward to ensure a greater focus on resilience and preparedness to safeguard not only against future outbreaks, but also to ensure equitable access to healthcare and social determinants of health. Learn from experts in the field, research, and at policy-level, how we can respond to COVID-19 in a sustainable, climate-friendly manner, leaving no-one-behind.

Topics discussed:

  • How can this pandemic serve as a turning point for planetary health?
  • How do we ensure sustainable health and environment changes?
  • How is COVID-19 highlighting the need for a one-health response?


  • Dr Renzo Guinto, Chief Planetary Doctor, PH Lab, and Adviser to the Lancet One Health Commission 
  • Tara Shine – Director of Change by Degrees and climate change adviser 
  • Lanvin Concessao, World Resources Institute India 
  • Dr Aoife Kirk, HSE Public Health doctor and co-founder of Irish Doctors for the Environment 

Webinar 12: The Positive Power of Communities  in the Response to COVID-19 

Streamed on: 5th June 2020 

The impact of COVID-19 pandemic is not only affecting populations’ health and health systems, but it also went beyond that and it is affecting every single aspect of our lives. From the economy to education, access to essential services to the protection of vulnerable groups, COVID-19 has challenged the community as a whole. Experience shows that where communities come together to respond, health and wellbeing improves and needs are better served. 

The discussion aimed at: 

  • share practical examples of how community responses across Ireland, Kenya, Vietnam and globally have improved responses to COVID-19,  
  • how community systems have worked as part of health systems. 
  • Highlight how important coordinated community reponses are when dealing with COVID-19 and all health issues 


  • Webinar Anchor: Professor Ruairi BrughaFormer Head of Epidemiology and Public Health, RCSI, Ireland 
  • Ms Nicola Willis, Executive Director, AFRICAID-Zvandiri, Zimbabwe  
  • Ms Florence Maritim Bore, Monitoring and Evaluation Coordinator,  Brighter Communities Worldwide, Kenya 
  • Dr OanhKhuat– Executive DirectorCentre for Supporting  Community Development Initiatives (SCDI), Vietnam 
  • MsBlessinaKumarBlessina is the CEO of Global Coalition of TB Activists. 

Webinar 11: The Broader Health and Health Systems Impacts of COVID-19 in LMICs ​

Streamed on: 29th May 2020 

As the COVID-19 pandemic emerged, the main concerns initially were to combat the spread of the virus, to save lives and to mitigate the anticipated increased pressure on health services.

However, COVID-19 responses will not stop and may exacerbate or lead us to overlook the impacts of other diseases, especially in LMICs. There is a risk of increased morbidity and mortality as a result of the disruption to essential services (facilities overstretched/overwhelmed, services refocused on COVID-19 – away from other priorities, patients stop attending, health workers sick or unavailable, etc.).

There are also the wider health effects of lockdowns and restrictions (deteriorating mental health, loss of income, lack of food, etc.). In recent weeks, there have been a number of stark reports highlighting the potential impact of COVID-19 responses on people’s health globally and in LMICs.

This discussion aims to highlight and identify responses to the challenges faced with trying to maintain a range of essential health services including for communicable diseases, non-communicable diseases, mental illness; and for vulnerable groups such as women and children.


  • Prof Ruairi Brugha, Professor, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Webinar Anchor. 
  • Dr David Weakliam, Global Health Programme Director, HSE.
  • Dr Lucica Ditiu, Executive Secretary of the Stop TB Partnership.
  • Dr Elenia Macamo Amado, Deputy Director, Ministry of Health, Mozambique 
  • Dr Trish Scanlan, Paediatric oncologist, Muhimbili Hospital, Tanzania 

Webinar 10: Protecting Health Care Workers During The COVID-19 Pandemic ​

Streamed on: 22nd May 2020 

Evidence is emerging that health care workers are at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19 than the general population. A key reason is the risk of caring in close proximity to infected patients. However, this can be mitigated by effective risk reduction through a hierarchy of controls.

Risks are exasperated in low-middle income country settings where PPE may not be available or where training and guidance on it’s usage is not clear. During this webinar, we heard from health care professionals who have been and are on the front lines in Italy, Kenya and the UK. In partnership with the Society of Occupational Medicine we invited speakers from Kenya, Italy and the United Kingdom to address:

• The WHO’s occupational health strategy for health care workers.

• Strategies for addressing key issues such as using the hierarchy of controls to protect health care workers, including the effective use of PPE.

• Protection of health workers experiences from Kenya, Italy and the United Kingdom.


• Dr Ivan Ivanov – Team Leader, the Global Occupational and Workplace Health Team in the Headquarters of the World Health Organization in Geneva. Currently serves as occupational health officer in the COVID-19 response team of WHO’s Global Emergencies Programme.

• Dr Will Ponsonby, President (Chair) Society of Occupational Medicine. Senior Lecturer in Occupational Medicine for the MSc in Occupational Medicine at the University of Manchester.

• Professor Pierluigi Cocco. Prof. Cocco is full (ordinary) professor of Occupational Medicine at the University of Cagliari with a long-standing collaboration with the Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology Branch of the U.S. National Cancer Institute. 

• Dr Joy Mugambi, general practitioner from Nairobi, Kenya. Joy has been involved a lot in WHO’s work on the occupational health of health workers. She is also the Secretary General of the World Organization for Family Physicians (WONCA) Africa region.

• Webinar Anchor: Prof Ruairi Brugha, Former Head of Epidemiology and Public Health, RCSI, Ireland

Webinar 9: Balancing Human Rights and Competing Priorities in the Global COVID-19 Response

Streamed on: 15th May 2020 

This discussion aims to establish the status of human rights and applications of Human Rights-Based Approaches amid the global COVID-19 response. This webinar is co-organised with the African-European Parliamentarians Initiative.

With contributions by panelists ranging from different academic backgrounds and policy-makers, it aims to reconcile a number of competing priorities: the need to balance public health measures with human rights; the priority of COVID-19 in the context of other threats to human health; empirical learning from past epidemics and mitigation techniques, including the testing of undiagnosed populations; and calls for the building of more robust and sustainable health systems as historic opportunity.   

The discussion aims to identify opportunities for action and international cooperation in the response to COVID-19 but also to identify the risks caused by any denial of human rights inherent in large-scale national and international public health responses. 

Our speakers were invited to address the following key questions:  

  • What categories of people including the aged, the young, migrants, women, workers, and those living with illness, find their rights most threatened by the incidence of, and the response to, COVID-19? 
  • How can the right to health and to work – in subsistence economies – be balanced and protected? 
  • Can COVID-19 be a catalyst to transformative new social contracts? 
  • Which agents and institutional responses could deliver these changes? 


  1. Gregg Gonsalves, Epidemiology and Global Health Advocate, Yale University
  2. Michael Higgins, Senior Program Officer, Pathfinders Program Lead on Inequality and Exclusion at NYU Centre on International Cooperation
  3. Odette Nyiramilimo, Rwandan Physician and Senator
  4. Attiya Waris, Professor and Writer, University of Nairobi,  Kenya 

Webinar Anchor: Prof Ruairi Brugha, Former Head of Epidemiology and Public Health, RCSI, Ireland 

Webinar 8: Leveraging research and evidence to support humanitarian response to COVID-19

Streamed on: 8th May 2020 

This webinar discussed a range of issues related to evidence and research needs in the context of COVID-19. The speakers addressed the following key questions:

  • What are the knowledge and evidence gaps that humanitarian actors need to fill urgently to respond effectively to, and in the context of, COVID-19?
  • What existing research and practical expertise from past global health crises can be leveraged to improve response and support prevention?
  • How can operational organisations design humanitarian responses that integrate public health research priorities from the outset and in a coordinated way.


Amy Folan, Senior Education Advisor at Concern Worldwide

Ben Heaven Taylor, Chief Executive Officer, Evidence Aid

Gul Wali Khan, Chief Executive Officer a national NGO in Pakistan: Prepared. Also, the National Focal Point in Pakistan for GNDR (Global Network of Civil Society Organizations for Disaster Reduction)

Niall Roche: a Lecturer and IGHN Board member, and an Environmental Health Officer by background. Runs the Public Health Module on the Masters in Humanitarian Action in UCD.

Ruairi Brugha, Professor Emeritus, Former Head of the Department of Public Health & Epidemiology at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland

Webinar 7: Gender Dimensions of COVID-19 Pandemic

Streamed on: 1st May 2020

 This webinar focused on gender issues related to COVID-19. Our speakers addressed the following key issues:

*Integrating a gender perspective – Women in Global Health

*Promoting a gender response in LMICs

*Importance of gender-disaggregated data?


Chitra Nagarajan. A journalist, writer and activist involved in feminist, anti-racist, anti-fundamentalist and queer movements, Nigeria

Sarah Hillware, Deputy Director at Women in Global Health.

Sisonke Msimang, South African writer whose work is focused on race, gender and democracy.

Sophie Dilmitis, Women4GlobalFund (W4GF), Coordinator. Claire Hayes,

Claire Hayes, Consultant Clinical Psychologist

Webinar Anchor: Ruairi Brugha, Professor Emeritus, Former Head of the Department of Public Health & Epidemiology at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland

Webinar 6: How can health & development NGOs best respond during COVID-19?

Streamed on: 24 April 2020

In this webinar, we invited speakers from various professional and geographical backgrounds to walk us through:

  1. The impactof COVID-19 pandemic on the mental healthofhealthworkers and thegeneralpopulation.  
  2. Whataresomewayshealthworkers and thegeneralpopulationcan support their mental health.
  3. The stigma associated with COVID-19 disease, and how to protect populations that already stigmatized in the society?


Claire Hayes, Claire Hayes, Consultant Clinical Psychologist, has a particular interest and passion in helping people understand and manage anxiety.

Dominic Fannon Consultantpsychiatristwiththe HSE and seniorconsultantwithImROC.  DrFannoniscurrentlycollaboratingwith mental healthservices in Gujarat, India.

LesegoTlhwale, Media and Advocacy Officer, works with Global Network of People Living with HIV, South Africa.  

Sharon Morrow, Nurse, Night Site Manager for Tallaght General Hopsital, Director at All-Island Congenital Heart Disease Network.  

Webinar Anchor: Ruairi Brugha, Professor Emeritus, Former Head of the Department of Public Health & Epidemiology at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland

Webinar 5: How can health & development NGOs best respond during COVID-19? Practical insights and lessons

Streamed on: 17 April 2020

In this webinar, we invited guests from several NGOs currently implementing development and humanitarian programs in LMICs to share how they are practically responding and adapting, and the challenges they ae facing. Also, we heard from experts who have been involved in significant NGO responses to previous epidemics. The panellists were:

• Anne O’Mahony, International program director, Concern Worldwide.

• Daniel Muhungura, Regional Health Advisor, GOAL Organization

• Dr Gabriel Fitzpatrick, Specialist in Public Health Medicine with the HSE,

• Siobhan Walsh, Chief Executive Officer, GOAL Orgnization.

• Suzanne Keating, Chief Executive Officer, Dochas. 

• Webinar Anchor: Ruairi Brugha, Professor Emeritus, Former Head of the Department of Public Health & Epidemiology at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland

Webinar 4: Lessons learned from HIV and other epidemics & the role of behavioral research in COVID-19

Streamed on: 10 April 2020

Check out this fantastic webinar we had. Our amazing panellists were:

Kate Thomson from Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria, shared her experiences of the 80’s with HIV pandemic.

Margaret Fitzgerald from Health Service Executive, highlighted some lessons learned from outbreaks of Ebola and Cholera in the past decade.

Pete Lunn from the Economic and Social Research Institute emphasised the importance of social response and accountability during this crisis.

Sian White from London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, spoke about the importance of dedicated hand-washing facilities and public information efforts.

In addition, we got updates from Zambia by Father Michael Kelly and from Sudan by Alam Alhuda abu Kalib, Sinnar State Minister of Health.

The webinar commenced with a short epidemiological update regarding CVOID-19 by prof. Ruairi Brugha from Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.

Webinar 3: North-South Health Partnerships in The Context of COVID-19: How to Best Respond

Streamed on: 03 April 2020

Are you in a health partnership and want to know how you can best support partners during this time of crisis?

This webinar highlighted some of the opportunities possible for those already engaged in north-south health partnerships. Panellists:

Ben Simms: Chief Executive, THET Partnership for Global Health.

Shams Syed: Quality Team Lead at the World Health Organization.

Arley Gomez: Research Director, Fundación Universitaria de Ciencias de la Salud, Columbia.

Mwenya Kasonde: Independent Global Health Consultant, Zambia.

David Weakliam: Former Chair of ESTHER Alliance, Leader of Global Health Programme in the Health Service Executive).

Webinar Anchor: Ruairi Brugha, Professor Emeritus from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland

Webinar 2: Donor and Funding Challenges for LMICs and Hospital Readiness in the Time of COVID-19

Streamed on: 27 March 2020

We hosted speakers in the global health field to discuss funding and hospital readiness challenges in the time of COVID-19 pandemic.

Ruairi, former head of public health and epidemiology department at RCSI, started with a quick overview of what we know so far about the pandemic.

Nelly, donor relations Manager, from the Global Fund talked about how and why existing funding has been made available to governments for preparedness and response.

Lastly, Unarose, WHO infection control technical Advisor, shared her perspective and information about how hospitals in Europe and in LMICs can best prepare for the increase in care needed.

Conversations on COVID-19: 1st webinar

Streamed on: 20 March 2020

We hosted 3 Global Health experts. Ruairi Brugha, Professor Emeritu from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, walked us through an overview on the current European response to COVID-19 pandemic.

Diarmuid McClean, Deputy Head of Mission in Embassy of Ireland in Malawi, gave us a glimpse of the current situation in Malawi.

Then, Niall Roche, a Lecturer, IGHN Board member, and  runs the Public Health Module on the Masters in Humanitarian Action in UCD, discussed with us various aspects and considerations on Water, Health and Sanitation ‘’WaSH’’, and it’s relevance to the COVID-19 pandemic.