In 2012, under an agreement between the Health Service Executive (HSE) and Irish Aid, ESTHER Ireland joined the European ESTHER Alliance (EEA). ESTHER Ireland is a health development cooperation initiative supported by Irish Aid, which fosters institutional health partnerships to strengthen health systems, particularly human resources for health, to improve health outcomes.
ESTHER Ireland partnerships are collaborative relationships based on trust, equality and the mutual interest, between at least two institutions that work as peers towards common objectives. The partnerships often focus on education and training and involve Irish hospitals or hospital groups, primary care, or public health institutions, working with a counterpart health institution in the Global South. The first full ESTHER Ireland partnership was recognised in late 2012.
Through ESTHER Ireland, the HSE aims to facilitate Irish hospitals and other health institutions to engage in partnerships with similar institutions in less highly developed countries. This provides a mechanism for staff to contribute to health needs in low income countries while continuing to be based in Ireland. ESTHER Ireland works to support and recognise Irish Institutions in their partnership work, emphasising best practice and ensuring that the partnerships operate reciprocally and fairly. By working with Irish and international partner organisations, ESTHER Ireland also creates learning and training events to further increase the knowledge and capacity of Irish organisations to engage in partnerships work.
ESTHER Ireland has two approaches in supporting health partnerships. First, it identifies and approves full ESTHER Ireland Partners. These are well-established international health partnerships which have demonstrated the highest quality of partnership and reciprocity when assessed through an audit and interview process. Secondly, ESTHER Ireland offers small grants to institutions and their overseas counterparts to support the early stages of partnership formation, in addition to advice and training.
Nadine Ferris France
c/o Department of Epidemiology and Public Health Medicine
Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
Beaux Lane House
Mercer Street Lower