The ESTHER Initiative has been established in 2002 by France to face the emergency represented by HIV/Aids in developing countries and to counter the blatant inequalities between the global North and South in access to treatment and care for PLWHIV. It was at that time founded on hospital twinning and civil society organizations partnerships so as to provide comprehensive care for people living with AIDS (PLWA). To implement and manage the initiative, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Health set up in 2002 the GIP ESTHER (Public Interest Group) as a governmental technical and cooperation agency. The initiative became European with the first round of countries joining as members. GIP ESTHER then hosted the European ESTHER Alliance Secretariat and supported its development.
In 2014 the French Government decided to merge the main French international technical and cooperation implementers, including the GIP ESTHER, and created a new Agency, Expertise France.
Expertise France is now the French leading agency for international technical cooperation. The GIP ESTHER portfolio has been transferred to the Expertise France health Department. The French ESTHER initiative has consequently strongly evolved, together with it main modus operandi and health relative topic focus.
The Expertise France Health Department is implementing a wide range of Institutional Health Partnerships, involving not only hospitals and CSOs, but also Public Health Agencies, Public Health Schools, Research Institutions, Private Sector partners for projects in line with global health agenda (E.g: Pandemics; NDC; RMNCH, HSS, Patient Safety). These projects – that constitute only one part of the Expertise France Health Department portfolio – are in line with the ESTHER approach of Institutional Health Partnerships.