Friday, 29 January 2016

Health Partnerships: An Effective Response to the Global Health Agenda

ABOUT THE SERIES 
THET is very pleased to announce the release of the first publications in our special series in the academic journal, Globalization and Health, ‘Health Partnerships: an effective response to the global health agenda’.  The series sets out to explore the concept of international ‘twinning’ relationships between healthcare delivery or training institutions in high-income countries and counterparts in low or middle-income countries.  Health partnerships build the expertise and capacity of an institution’s health workforce not only in clinical areas, but also leadership, management, patient safety, research, and monitoring and evaluation.  Partnerships may also work on the implementation of standards and protocols, develop curricula, or influence health policy.

Health partnerships frequently publish in journals specific to their clinical specialism  but this is the first time that a journal has published a collection of articles dedicated to health partnerships’ work.  So this series is a milestone for health partnerships, which shows how far we have come; it is the product of a movement that puts partnership at the heart of strengthening health systems.

ORIGINS OF THE SERIES
It was at THET’s annual conference that the idea for a special series on health partnerships was born, with support and encouragement from Greg Martin, editor-in-chief of Globalization and Health, who was one of our speakers (see also Greg’s YouTube series on Global Health).  The time was right for a series: THET had funded a significant number of projects across multiple grant programmes (International Health Links Funding Scheme, Health Partnership Scheme, Strengthening Surgical Capacity, our country programmes in Zambia and Somaliland) so we knew that there were experiences and results out there that would be valuable not only to the health partnership community, but the partnership movement more broadly.  With the call for evidence ever-present from donors and other stakeholders, a series in a peer-reviewed journal was an exciting opportunity to bring together evidence, insights, critiques, and lessons learned, and to explore health partnerships in detail.  The Sustainable Development Goals, with their many health related objectives, provide the broader context for this series.  Notably, SDG 3 ‘ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages’ sets out the vision for universal health coverage and THET believes that health partnerships have a significant  contribution to make to achieving UCH, as described in our UHC Discussion Paper. 

Overall, we were delighted by the number of responses to the call for papers as well as by the breadth of countries, specialisms, and institutions represented; authors hail from Africa, Europe, North America, and South America. The editorial by Andrew Jones – Envisioning a Global Health Partnership Movement –  introduces many of the papers featured in this first issue and these are just the start; with the level of interest shown to date, there will be more issues released in 2016 and we hope well into 2017 too.  Full information on the series and how to submit a paper is available here.

THET’s COMMITMENT TO EVIDENCE
THET is in a privileged position: we give training, advice, and grants to health worker training projects; and we run capacity development programmes in Somaliland and Zambia. We provide a flexible framework for people to work together effectively and responsively for the longer term.  Our wealth of knowledge about health partnerships and partnership working is down to the practitioners whose rich experiences inform our approach and develop our understanding of how best to support them.  We provide training and advice in monitoring, evaluation and learning because partnerships face challenges in tracking the difference they make, such as poor data and limited resources.  We develop resources to improve the quality of health partnerships, from case studies, to guidelines, manuals, and webinars that bring practitioners together in real-time.  In 2016, in addition to continuing this special series in Globalization and Health, THET will bring together researchers interested in the mechanisms, efficiency, and effectiveness of health partnerships, to agree a research agenda and explore opportunities for multidisciplinary work.  This is the next step in our commitment to developing the rigorous evidence base for health partnerships as an effective response to global health needs.

To find out more about THET’s work visit our website www.thet.org, read the special series in Globalization and Health or contact a member of the team – info@thet.org.  You can submit a paper to the journal at any time as this is a rolling, on-going series.  For more information about how you can submit a paper to the series, visit the Globalization and Health website: http://globalizationandhealth.biomedcentral.com/