ESTHER Ireland Partnerships Panorama
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Dear Colleagues,

In this latest issue of Partnerships Panorama, we bring you news of work being done at hospitals in Monrovia, Liberia, in improving Infection Prevention and Control (IPC), which last month saw Irish IPC Nurse Caoimhe Finn travel to Monrovia for two short visits to lend her experience in training staff, changing working culture, and making recommendations for future improvements. We also feature news, a new Start-Up Grant round, and an update from the partnership between Our Lady's Children's Hospital Crumlin and Muhimbili National Hospital, Tanzania. Please use the links below to navigate to a specific section of the newsletter:

     Cuba validated as first country in the world to eliminate mother-to-child HIV transmission
     New report on UK's contribution to global health
     Joint WHO/World Bank report tracking universal health coverage

Irish Infection Prevention and Control Nurse Caoimhe Finn recently returned from a trip to Liberia, as part of a project led by two French hospitals in Paris and Rennes: "Continuity of care for TB and HIV patients and integration of IPC procedures in John Fitzgerald Kennedy (JFK) and Redemption Hospital, in Monrovia". Caoimhe's involvement was supported by the HSE's Global Health Programme, ESTHER Ireland and ESTHER France.
Caoimhe  took part in two separate week-long visits, in May and June of this year, during which she used her expertise to help guide Liberian partners in implementation of IPC measures at three hospitals in Monrovia. This presented the opportunity to not only shape improvements in patient safety in the hospitals, but also to gain knowledge of the staff's experiences on the ground from the recent Ebola outbreak, and to hear their concerns over resources. The programme provided the opportunity to work towards culture change to overcome perceptions by hospital workers that IPC was only linked with Ebola, rather than a general health protection measure designed to improve safety for all patients. The visits also acted as a staging ground to help build the ongoing programme of IPC improvements at Monrovia's hospitals, and information was gathered to guide the training of future participants in the project.
 In conjunction with Liberian colleagues specialising in infectious diseases, public health, and IPC, Caoimhe visited clinical areas and examined both the challenges and improvements which were taking place on the ground, including Redemption Hospital's production of critical IPC resources such as alcohol-based hand rub, and the implementation of tailored solutions to waste management and water supplies.
Caoimhe has written an article reflecting on the visits to Liberia, which will appear very soon in the next issue of the HSE national staff magazine, Health Matters. For more information, or if you would like to contact Caoimhe, please send an email to

We are pleased to announce a new Start-Up Grants Round. The closing date for this new round is September 30th, 2015Small grants of up to €6000 are available to Irish health institutions wishing to conduct projects that build partnerships with institutions in the Global South, in order to help strengthen the knowledge and skills of health professionals. These small grants are specifically intended to support the early development of such partnerships, including conceptualisation and initial meetings or exchange visits to help develop shared vision. You can find out more information on the Start-Up Grants application process, by clicking here. If you would like to inquire as to whether your project is suitable, please do not hesitate to contact the ESTHER Ireland Secretariat by clicking here.

Exciting news from the 2014 ESTHER Start-up grantee partnership between Our Lady’s Children's Hospital Crumlin and Muhimbili National Hospital, Tanzania. International NGO Group, Tumaini la Maisha/Their Lives Matter (TLM), has worked together with the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, and Muhimbili Hospital and partners, to produce a five-year strategic plan to improve cancer survival rates for children in Tanzania though increased quality of clinical care, improved quality of life of patients and families, and increased likelihood of early cancer diagnosis.

Tanzania is one of the first sub-Saharan African countries to prioritise cancer care within its health services, and the Tanzanian Government has pledged to offer free care and treatment for all those living with cancer in the country. Amongst health systems improvements that have been made was the opening of the Upendo Cancer Ward at Muhimbili National Hospital, which is the only paediatric cancer ward in the country. Since 2007, improvements have been seen across the board among children's cancer services at MNH, including an increase in 1-year survival rates from 12% up to 60%.
The strategy will launch officially in October / November of this year. For more information on the OLCHC/MNH partnership, please view the presentation by Paediatric Oncologist Dr. Trish Scanlan, given at the 2014 Irish Forum for Global Health International Conference on Partnerships for Health.


Cuba validated as first country in the world to eliminate mother-to-child HIV transmission
A world first has occurred in Cuba, where the WHO has recently validated the country as having eliminated mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis. In praise of this global health milestone, Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan said, “Eliminating transmission of a virus is one of the greatest public health achievements possible”.
Based on the WHO's Global Guidance on Elimination of Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV and Syphilis, Cuba has been able to bring down the number of children born with HIV to mothers who are HIV+ to below 2% - the lowest possible rate with current medical technologies.
New Report on UK's Contribution to Global Health
The United Kingdom's All-Party Parliamentary Group on Global Health has recently released a report on the state of global health contributions by the UK. Noting successes to-date, the report also highlights the need for scale-up, which can only be achieved through the contributions of sustainable, equitable, and mutually-beneficial health partnerships.
After the report's publication, the Tropical Health Education Trust (THET) also highlighted the mutual benefits of international partnerships and volunteering, whilst calling for policy changes that would better support the formation of new partnerships to enable more individuals and organisations to engage in global health work. Please click here to read THET's response to the report.
Joint WHO/World Bank Report Tracking Universal Health Coverage
Please click here to view the new report from the WHO and World Bank Group, "Tracking Universal Health Coverage: First Global Monitoring Report", which includes information on health services coverage and acts as a current snapshot on the state of UHC across the globe today.
The report estimates that at least 400 Million people worldwide lack access to one or more essential health services. Furthermore, many people in Low and Middle Income Countries are pushed into extreme poverty as a result of health spending. Selected background data which contributed to the report can also be found, by clicking here.

If you would like to contribute to this publication with news or items relating to International Health Partnerships, please email us at
With kind regards,

ESTHER Ireland
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