The European ESTHER Alliance recently adopted a strategic framework and road map for 2015-2020. This network of 12 European countries, including Germany, is supporting partnerships between hospitals and institutions in developing countries and European countries to improve health care and health outcomes through continuous joint work of experts of these institutions and joint learning.
Since 2002 ESTHER (Ensemble pour une Solidarité Thérapeutique Hospitalière En Réseau) has supported 350 partnerships in 40 countries across Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East and trained over 50,000 health workers across many disciplines. Initiated in 2002 by the French Minister of Health, the Alliance has continuously moved from an informal to a more formal network. At a meeting on 15-16 April 2014 in Geneva, the members of the alliance finalised and adopted, for the first time, a joint strategic framework for the period 2015-2020 as well as a road map to implement this strategy.
Members of the European ESTHER Alliance adopt the strategic framework
According to Yvonne Schoenemann from GIZ, who took part in the Geneva meeting as a representative of German Development Cooperation, “the strategy is an important step for the Alliance. The process of developing a mission, a vision and a strategy has already been very useful, as we have come to a comon understanding of our goals and challenges. Moving now towards implementation, the strategy will help us to become more efficient, to develop a stronger and hopefully bigger network of partnerships and to promote the partnership approach as an important method of international cooperation.”
The strategic framework lays out, for instance, quality principles for effective partnerships as well as focus areas for capacity development. It commits the Alliance to six strategic goals for the period until 2020. Three of these goals seek to strengthen the partnership approach, for example by setting standards for and generating evidence on the effectiveness of institutional health partnerships. The other goals focus on internal processes of the Alliance such as membership, funding, governance and organisational capacity.
“Our new strategy,” the Alliance writes in a foreword, “is all about how we can extend the impact of our success through generating evidence of what works, sharing good practice and creating more opportunities for institutional health partnerships. By the end of 2020 we will have contributed to the evidence base for the added value of partnerships, expanded the reach of institutional health partnerships and be recognised as a key advocate for partnerships within the development cooperation landscape.”
The meeting also allowed the Alliance to strengthen its links with external partners. Representatives of the Global Fund, WHO, UNITAID and UNAIDS, who participated in parts of the meeting, appreciated the development of the strategy and explained how their organisations could envisage to engage in a cooperation based on this strategy.
Read more about the research outputs of the ESTHER partnerships supported by German Development Cooperation http://www.health.bmz.de/en/topics/Partnerships-for-global-health/Research_articles_by_German-African_university_and_hospital_partnerships/index.html
Website of the European ESTHER Alliance: http://www.esther.eu/