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The ESTHER Alliance met on June 13th and 14th 2018 in Bern for its bi-annual meeting. The first day, the Alliance Board Member representatives (including ESTHER France, Germany, Ireland, Norway and Switzerland) discussed progress towards year plan and the Strategic Plan 2015-2020.

The decisions made are related to its  governance structure and to the participation of the Alliance in international global health events during the second year’s half. The ESTHER Alliance’s priority for 2018 is the on-line launch of the self-evaluation EFFECt Tool. The goal is that at least 70% of all active ESTHER partnerships conduct a self-evaluation of their projects together with their partners. The Alliance will publish a report with the results of this evaluation in early 2019.

The second day included a working session with all representatives of the ESTHER Alliance and some external guests from WHO. The collaborative session focused on the contribution of institutional health partnerships to health system strengthening and on a Theory of Change-Modell for the Alliance. Guests from WHO presented their new publication on Twinning Patnerships for Improvement.

 

On June 14th, 2018, the ESTHER Alliance yearly meeting will take place in the Swiss city of Berne. The ESTHER Alliance delegates will work together on a stimulating program, reflecting jointly on how best to strengthen health systems through institutional health partnerships. The development of a new Theory of Change model for the Alliance will also be at the agenda.

The ESTHER Alliance meeting will be followed on June 15th, 2018, by the 2nd ESTHER Switzerland Forum, which will be an occasion to bring together international members of the Alliance and Swiss implementers partners to exchange and learn from each other. For more information or to participate to the Forum: https://www.esther-switzerland.ch/esther-forums/ (deadline for registration is Wednesday 13th).

 

Find here the open WHO webinar from June 28th with the title “Improvement approaches spotlight: examining the Twinning Partnerships for Improvement model”.

The 90 minute webinar provides an opportunity to hear from front-line workers, country leaders and global partners, on the role of twinning partnerships as a catalyst for sustainable change. WHO provides an overview of the TPI Preparation package, TPI action planning and 6-step model to support the future application of the model.

Learning Objectives:
The webinar allows participants to:

  • Learn about how to use the WHO TPI Preparation Package and its complementary document on Action Planning;
  • Understand how twinning partnerships can influence national direction on quality;
  • Orient participants to the learning mechanisms put in place by the implementers of twinning partnerships;
  • Hear direct from the front-lines on the experience and realities of working in partnership and the impact it can have on behaviour change.

Intended audience:
Front-line workers, Administrators, Policy-makers, Academics

The Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo, with the support of WHO and partners, is preparing to vaccinate high risk populations against Ebola virus disease (EVD) in affected health zones. Health workers operating in affected areas were vaccinated on Monday 21st May and community outreach has started to prepare for the ring vaccination.

More than 7,500 doses of the rVSV-ZEBOV Ebola vaccine have been deployed to the Democratic Republic of the Congo to conduct vaccination in the northwestern Equator Province where 46 suspected, probable and confirmed Ebola cases and 26 deaths have been reported (as of May 18). Most of the cases are in Bikoro, a remote rural town, while four confirmed cases are in Mbandaka, the provincial capital with a population of over 1 million people.

The Ministry of Health with key partners are implementing a ring vaccination whereby the contacts of confirmed cases and the contacts of contacts are offered vaccination. Frontline healthcare workers and other persons with potential exposure to EVD – including but not limited to laboratory workers, surveillance teams and people responsible for safe and dignified burials – will also receive the vaccine. WHO is deploying both Congolese and Guinean experts to build the capacities of local health workers.

Find out more about ESTHER partnerships on Ebola here.

The Geneva Health Forum 2018 took place in April 10th – 12th. A special Experience Sharing Session was organized on the topic of “The international North-South hospital collaborations: a new model is being developed?”. The goal was to exchange on the more fundamental evolutions currently taking place in the field of the North-South hospital partnerships (new actors, new themes, new cooperation instruments, new financing models).

The ESTHER Alliance was represented in the discussion panel by Luciano Ruggia, Project Manager of ESTHER Switzerland.

For more information: http://ghf2018.g2hp.net/sessions/es2-2-la-cooperation-hospitaliere-internationale-nord-sud-un-nouveau-modele-est-il-en-train-detre-invente/

Following the 2017 Call for proposals, ESTHER Switzerland finalized in February the projects that are receiving an ESTHER Grant. After an in-depth analysis of the proposal, including an external review of each proposal, we selected six projects for a major Grant (ca. CHF 100’000), within an on-going institutional health partnership (IHP) and two projects for a Start-up fund (usually intended to initiate a new partnership). The new projects are presented on the ESTHER Switzerland web page https://www.esther-switzerland.ch/partnerships/.

For each project, a factsheet is presenting the planned activities and is providing more detailed information, including contact details. The projects will now enter their implementation phase.

“You need to know your partners’ motivations”, said Andrew Jones, the Head of Partnerships at the UK’s Health and Education Trust (THET) in the workshop hosted by ESTHER Germany  on October 16th 2017. Jointly, the public and private sectors can work towards the sustainable development goals (SDGs).

Members and partners of the ESTHER Alliance for Global Health Partnerships and of the health industry gathered in Berlin in a workshop at the World Health Summit in order to get to know each other and explore how institutional health partnerships could be a tool to make innovation accessible in resource-poor settings and a means of working jointly for mutual benefit.

 

An Innovative Multi-stakeholder Approach to Improve Quality and Access to Care

As a keynote speaker, Farid Lamara from Expertise France and General Secretary of the ESTHER Alliance gave a short introduction to the history, approach and sustainability of ESTHER partnerships: these are long-term partnerships of peer clinicians and other health professionals. Mr. Lamara observes great opportunities in the engagement of the private sector in institutional health partnerships: Private industry can support larger partnership projects targeting the improvement of quality and access to care. In addition to financial means, companies can offer expertise in areas relevant to partnership projects. Moderated by Brigitte Jordan-Harder, a senior technical advisor for GIZ, the panelists engaged in a lively discussion summarized below.

Mr Warnken, Head of the Health Division at Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) underlined the German commitment to university and hospital partnerships as an innovative cooperation instrument to strengthen health systems and presented the Hospital Partnerships Initiative. The Initiative has been successful since its launch in 2016 – it has already funded 66 health partnerships in 30 countries. The partnerships represent an opportunity to mobilize new actors for development cooperation, particularly hospitals and health staff in Germany. The Initiative is also an example of cooperation with a private foundation, the Else Kröner-Fresenius Foundation, characterized by strong joint commitment for strengthening health services in developing countries.

Mr Madeija, representing the pharmaceutical company Bayer reported on his company’s engagement with the Access Accelerated Initiative. Supported by 22 big pharmaceutical companies, the goal of the initiative is to improve diagnosis and treatment of non-communicable diseases, like diabetes, cardio-vascular diseases and cancer in low- and middle-income countries. To do so companies contribute to building capacity and strengthening health systems in partnership with governments and considering local conditions and policies. For Bayer, ESTHER partnerships are perfect implementing partners to deliver capacity-building measures. Mr Madeija added that his company, as others, has an interest in contributing to stronger economies by improving the health of their populations, given that dynamic economies open new business markets.

Mr Cunnaku, Deputy Director at VAMED agreed on the potential of the private sector for supporting capacity-building in developing countries in areas such as information and communication technology (ICT). E-learning offers great opportunities to improve the skills of health professionals in remote areas. When involved in hospital partnerships, the private sector can offer a wide range of technical solutions to strengthen health systems in the developing world.

Andrew Jones from the British organisation THET added another perspective: THET has been using its Health Partnership approach towards workforce development since 1988. The NGO is part of the ESTHER Alliance. Since 2012, THET has collaborated with the company Johnson & Johnson in specific thematic areas such as surgery, anaesthesia and the development of community health workers. From his experience, a private company’s interest in using a partnership approach lies in the uniqueness of institutional health partnerships: They are an exchange platform between professionals from Southern and Northern countries with an evident impact on health systems. Mr Jones explained the process of developing a tripartite partnership and underlined how important it is to openly communicate about particular interests in order to build trust and ensure a win-win-win environment.

Mr Hemmer from the University of Rostock presented the perspective of a German hospital participating in a long-term ESTHER partnership with Cameroonian hospitals in Limbe and Bamenda and more recently in Kindia (Guinea); both partnerships are funded through GIZ’s regional programme University and Hospital Partnerships in Africa. For their African colleagues, these exchanges offer an opportunity to access state-of-the-art diagnostic and therapeutic practice. Among the German partners involved are notably Departments of Tropical Medicine. Doctors hardly see clinical cases of tropical diseases in Germany. It is therefore a great learning opportunity for both sides.

Overall, there was consensus that the Sustainable Development Agenda and Universal Health Coverage cannot be reached without the private sector playing its part. Discussions on concrete mechanisms and conditions for German partners to cooperate with the private sector to ensure transparency and fair competition will be jointly developed with the public sector.

Background: There is growing international concern over antimicrobial resistance (AMR) which is currently estimated to account for more than 700,000 deaths per year worldwide. Despite the threat presented by AMR, the 2014 World Health Organization (WHO) describe significant gaps in surveillance, standard methodologies, and data sharing, particularly in less well-developed countries. In Africa, this lack of quality data leads to treatment guidelines that are often not adapted to the local context which leads to increased antimicrobial resistance.

Approach: Five ESTHER partnership projects have formed a network to improve surveillance on antimicrobial resistance. These partnerships will work to ensure the availability of microbiological cultures and susceptibility testing at seven hospitals in Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana. Building on the improved surveillance system, the partners will jointly conduct a multi-center research project. This network project adheres to the WHO GLASS initiative (Global AMR ) and it will enable comparable and validated data on AMR among countries. Better data will lead to safer and more effective patient care, and accurate and representative AMR surveillance across countries and partners, to inform treatment guidelines and strategies.

Partners:  

  • University Hospital Frankfurt – Kenyatta National Hospital, Kenya;
  • University Hospital Hamburg – Eppendorf – Hôpital Général Abobo Nord Abidjan and Université Jean Lorougnon Guede, Côte d´Ivoire – Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital Kumasi, Ghana;
  • University Hospital München – Mbeya Zonal Referral Hospital and Mbeya Medical Research Centre, Tanzania – Jimma University Specialized Hospital, Ethiopia;
  • Charité Berlin – University Teaching Hospital of Butare and School of Medicine of Butare, Rwanda;
  • University Hospital Düsseldorf – Asella teaching Hospital and School of Science and Arsi University, Tanzania;