Efforts to strengthen health systems and attain better health outcomes are often hampered by health workers having limited access to high quality education, mentoring support and continuing professional development opportunities. Health partnerships between institutions seek to address this challenge through long term institution-institution partnerships that typically focus on capacity building, clinical service delivery and operational research, but also mutual learning as different environments enable different solutions. A central tenet of institutional health partnerships (IHPs) is the provision of long-term peer-peer support with the overall aim of strengthening the health workforce and its institutions.
The Global Better Health Programme (BHP) is an overseas development aid programme led by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office and technically supported by a consortium of National Health Service (NHS) Executive Agencies of which Public Health England (PHE) is one. The programme works with eight partner countries, namely Mexico, Brazil, South Africa, Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia, Myanmar and Thailand to respond to the challenge of achieving UHC. Working through a Non-Communicable Diseases lens, the programme seeks to progress implementation of prevention polices, improve the quality and access to healthcare services, strengthen workforce training and research using digital modalities as an enabler in part by developing institutional health partnerships. This is part of the UK Prosperity Fund whose purpose is to facilitate inclusive economic growth and create new opportunities. This programme contributes to the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly Goal 3 ‘Good Health and Well-being for People’, Goal 8 ‘Decent Work and Economic Growth’ and Goal 17 ‘partnerships to achieve the goals’.
The objective of this session is to demonstrate a sustainable, learning approach to achieve UHC through closer institutional partnerships between countries and peer to peer support. The session will present the evolving evidence and science behind this approach, contrast this against a more traditional approach to technical assistance and describe how institutional partnerships can be used to strengthen health systems. It will use an example of this existing partnership programme, the Better Health Programme (BHP) to outline the opportunities of this method and challenge the contributors in a panel discussion to describe how they manage the ethical challenges between expanding the reach of health services, achieving equity and high quality for all.