Improving health services
Title: Hospital Partnerships Initiative – Partners Strengthen Health
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), Else Kröner-Fresenius Foundation (EKFS)
Country: Asia, Africa, Eastern Europe, Latin America, Germany
Overall term: 2016 to 2022
Two of the 17 goals of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development have relevance for health care worldwide. Many people in low and middle-income countries still do not receive adequate medical care. This is often due to insufficient health services.
This is where international hospital partnerships between the staff of German institutions and their colleagues in partner establishments come in: such partnerships promote discussion between colleagues and create a shared learning environment. This improves the quality of medical care provided by the respective local health establishments and universities.
The term ‘hospital partners’ means doctors, nurses, midwives and birth attendants, microbiologists, technicians, administrative professionals, hospital managers and other specialist staff in medical occupations.
The Hospital Partnerships – Partners Strengthen Health funding programme was initiated in 2016 by Germany’s Federal Development Minister Gerd Müller together with the Else Kröner-Fresenius Foundation. It currently supports some 200 hospital partnerships in 51 countries in a variety of medical disciplines.
The funding programme mobilises commitment from civil society organisations and opens doors to further public funding. In addition, it fosters links between the German health service and other health systems in Asia, Africa, Latin America and Europe, thereby helping to achieve global health objectives.
The health services in low and middle-income countries have been improved. To this end, the hospital partners have drawn up guidelines and developed new possibilities for diagnosis and treatment.
The Hospital Partnerships – Partners Strengthen Health initiative provides funding of up to EUR 50,000 to hospital partners of German establishments. Follow-up funding can be requested after two years of funding. It provides support for the partners in all aspects of the administrative process, reporting and financial management. In the field of international cooperation, hospital partners receive extensive advice and support about project management, communication and networking. In this, they are able to take advantage of the global field structure of the Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH. The Else Kröner-Fresenius Foundation provides cofinancing of EUR 4.6 million.
- Hospital partnerships benefit from the specialist knowledge of German experts.
- Skilled professionals improve their expertise in prevention, diagnosis and treatment.
- Skilled professionals judge the acquired knowledge to be relevant to their work and apply it accordingly.
- A large proportion of the skilled professionals to whom the project reaches out pass on the knowledge they have acquired to colleagues.
- Hospital partnerships improve equipment and processes in the respective partner establishments. They are working to introduce new guidelines for the operational processes of the partner organisations.
- For example, they are working on producing hygiene guidelines for operating theatres to teach hygiene and implement the new guidelines in daily practice. As part of their collaboration, they use a mixture of methods consisting of peer-to-peer learning, coaching and training with an emphasis on necessary equipment and the corresponding support. The focus is on constantly expanding and building capacity in hospitals via the professionals who work there.
- Over 80 per cent of the medical devices provided through funding are in use and improve the day-to-day running of the hospital. Instructions are available to the staff in the respective local languages.
German partners broaden their experience by treating other diseases and working with other medical resources. Moreover, the project creates cooperation across cultural boundaries and thus helps to build up an international network.
Some hospital partnerships are having an impact beyond the respective partner establishments. Many of the partnerships are in contact with government agencies, non-governmental organisations, development programmes or other relevant institutions. In this way, they are building cooperation and helping to improve the system. Initial recommendations for action have been drawn up and made available to regional or national programmes.