Funding FAQs for the Health Partnership Scheme. If your question is not answered here then please feel free to get in touch via our contact page.

Q. What is the Health Partnership Scheme?

A. The Health Partnership Scheme (HPS) aims to improve health outcomes for poor people in DFID priority and other low income countries. The Scheme will harness UK health institutions and professionals in partnerships with developing country counterparts, and strengthen health systems through health service skills transfer and capacity development.

Q. How is the Health Partnership Scheme funded?

A. The Health Partnership Scheme is funded by the UK Government’s Department for International Development and managed by THET

Q. Can I apply for funding?

A. There are currently no active funding rounds. Please sign up to our eBulletin to be notified of future funding opportunities.  


Q. What does the Health Partnership Scheme fund?

A. The Health Partnership Scheme currently supports over 80 partnership projects across over 20 countries in Africa & Asia. Grants have been awarded in the following categories:

  • Multi-Country Partnership grants –  for effectively leveraging the knowledge and expertise from UK health partners in areas of health system strengthening and contribute towards meeting the Millennium Development Goals 4,5,6 targets through projects with transformational impact.
  • Paired Institutional Partnership grants –  for the delivery of effective health partnership projects, encouraging reach into under-served and rural areas, and improving health outcomes over a broad thematic and geographical spread.
  • Long-term volunteering grants – for the placement of UK volunteers who will support the delivery of projects.  These placements are for a minimum of six months and the focus is on health system strengthening and contributing towards meeting the Millennium Development Goals 4,5, and 6 targets through Human Resources for Health capacity development.
  • Pilot initiatives – the Health Partnership Scheme supports a limited number of pilot initiatives which are placed to uniquely contribute to the universal access agenda and domestic health financing reform.
  • Extension grants - additional support to the health partnership community for partnerships who did not receive funding under the first phase of HPS. It is intended to fund projects strengthening the capacity of the developing country’s health services.

Q. What are Millennium Development Goals 4, 5, and 6?
A. The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are eight international development goals that aim to combat extreme poverty across the world.  All 192 United Nations member states and at least 23 international organisations have agreed to achieve by the year 2015. The promised to “free all men, women, and children from the abject and dehumanizing conditions of extreme poverty.”

Goal 4: Reduce child mortality

  • Target: Between 1990 and 2015, reduce the under-five mortality rate by two thirds.

Goal 5: Improve maternal health

  • Target: Between 1990 and 2015, reduce the maternal mortality ratio by three quarters.

Goal 6: Combat HIV / AIDS, malaria and other diseases

  • Target: To have halted by 2015 and begun to reverse the spread of HIV and AIDS.
  • Target: To achive universal access to treatment for HIV/AIDS by 2010.
  • Target: To have halted by 2015 and begun to reverse the incidence of malaria and other major diseases.

Q. Is the Health Partnership Scheme purely a grant-giving scheme?
A. The Scheme does more than distribute grants.  It provides online facilities to bring new partners together and to provides support to newly formed and established partnerships.

Q. Who is running the Health Partnership Scheme?
A. THET is the managing agent for the Health Partnership Scheme and is responsible for: the selection of grantees, the disbursement of funds; the evaluation of projects; and ensuring that grantees have the support they need to enable them to deliver their work.  To ensure effective delivery of the Scheme, THET works in a consortium arrangement with HLSP, an international health sector consultancy that will provide strategic support throughout the scheme.  The consortium works closely with DFID to ensure that delivery of the programme meets the government’s objectives for UK-led international development.

Q. Who is THET?
A. THET (Tropical Health & Education Trust) is an international development organisation with over 20 years of experience in strengthening health services in low-income countries through partnerships that harness the expertise and experience of UK health professionals.  These health partnerships improve the skills of health workers and build long-term capacity in low-income countries. The majority of staff are based in London; THET also has country offices in Zambia and Somaliland.

Q. Who is DFID?
A. The Health Partnership Scheme is funded by the UK Government’s Department for International Development (DFID). Information about the scheme is also available on the DFID website.

The Department for International Development (DFID) leads the UK Government’s fight against world poverty.  DFID has helped more than 250 million people lift themselves from poverty and helped 40 million more children to go to primary shcool.  But there is still much to do to help make a fair, safe and sustainable world for all.  Through its network of offices throughout the world, DFID works with governments of developing countries, charities, nongovernmental organisations, businessess and international organisations, like the United Nations, European Commission, and the World Bank, to eliminate global poverty and its causes.  DFID also responds to overseas emergencies.  DFID’s work forms part of a global promise, the eight UN Millennium Development Goals, for tackling elements of global poverty by 2015.

Q. Who is HLSP?
Established in 1985, HLSP is an international consultancy working to improve world health. With offices world-wide, the company provides consultancy services, programme management and policy advice in public health and HIV in both developing and developed countries. HLSP is part of the Mott MacDonald Group, an international management, engineering and development consultancy.

Q.  What are health partnerships?
A. A health partnership is typically a relationship between a health institution in the UK and a counterpart health institution in a low-income country.  The partnership model builds on the ‘Health Links’ model that THET has long supported most recently through the International Health Links Funding Scheme.

In many cases, the partnerships are developed by institutions with complementary objectives and, on the UK side, is typically made up of volunteers from the UK partner.

Q. What do health partnerships do?
A.Health partnerships usually focus their activities on a series of projects. Often the projects implemented by health partnerships support Human Resources for Health development through training, and education of healthcare workers in the low-income country partner institutions.  Activities may be broader than this and include any aspect of strengthening a health system; whether training in neonatal emergency procedures or a systematic improvement to institutional processes, projects address priority shortages and needs identified by the low-income country partners.

Q. How are health partnerships organised?
A. Partnerships’ activities are typically coordinated and determined between the low-income country and UK partners, usually through a steering committee or similar forum.  The partnerships assign coordinators on both sides for their projects, who are the main point of contact for partnership matters.

Q. How do health partnerships decide on their projects?
A. Health partnerships are encouraged to establish priorities through a consultative process of needs assessment and review. In this way, the projects are planned with clear parameters and objectives. A partnership will typically carry out a number of projects. Funding for these projects is available through THET – previously under the International Health Links Funding Scheme and now under the Health Partnership Scheme.

Q. How does this relate to the existing International Health Links Funding Scheme?
A. The ‘Health Links’ model has been fostered and developed under the International Health Links Funding Scheme, which is serving as a pilot for the Health Partnership Scheme.  The Scheme will build on the lessons learnt from the International Health Links Funding Scheme.


Q. What is the volunteering strand of the programme?
A. Volunteering is at the heart of the Health Partnership Scheme (HPS).  HPS supports the engagement of UK volunteers in health partnership work, both for short-term and long-term volunteers.  Under HPS there will be a specific focus on encouraging longer term volunteers (over 6 months).

Q. What funding is available under the volunteering strand?

A. There are two main funding streams:

Volunteering Grants. These large grants of between £200,000 and £1,500,000 are available to organisations that are interested in running long-term volunteering programmes that leverage the knowledge and expertise of UK health professionals. (For info - Volunteering Grants call for concepts)

Volunteering Bursaries: In addition, established partnerships between UK and developing country institutions will have the opportunity to bid for funding for bursaries of up to £15,000 for individuals to volunteer for long-term periods of 6 to 12 months. This funding is designed to support partnerships that have identified a specific area that requires strengthening. The partnership must be able to show that the volunteer will add value to the project proposed, rather than being the premise for the project.

Q. I want to volunteer, how do I get involved?
A. There are a number of ways that you can volunteer as part of the Health Partnership Scheme.  If you work at a health training or health service delivery institution, ask your employer if there is an existing health partnership at your institution.  If there is, it will be the partnership coordinator’s decision whether you can volunteer and what your role would be. As HPS Volunteering Grants are awarded early in 2012 further opportunities to volunteer as part of HPS will become available.

Q. Are there opportunities for non-UK volunteers?
A. Currently the scheme is primarily targeted at UK health professionals, or those working for UK employers.

Q. Are there opportunities for health partnership practitioners from overseas to travel to the UK or volunteer in the UK?
A. There have been opportunities for overseas members of a partnership to visit the UK, often combining planning work with training and exposure visits.

Q. Can I volunteer if I am a student? (e.g. student nurse, midwife etc.)
A. Currently, the Bursaries for Volunteering are not available to undergraduate students.

Q. Can Bursaries for Volunteering help fund research e.g. as part of my higher degree?
A. The purpose of Bursaries for Volunteering is to support health partnership work through coordination and capacity building activities. If this were to incorporate research activities, the project application would have to give clear rationale for their contribution to the project aim.

Medical Equipment Grants

Q. What are Medium PIP Medical Equipment Grants? 
Medical Equipment Grants will fund effective health partnership projects that aim to improve equipment maintenance and management within their developing country partner’s institution by harnessing the skills of UK health and engineering professionals. The focus of these projects will be on skills transfer and capacity development of maintenance staff, clinical staff and administrators and not on the donation of large volumes of new medical equipment.

Q. Why are Medium PIP Medical Equipment Grants part of the Health Partnership Scheme (HPS)?
The Health Partnership Scheme supports the development of health services in low-income countries. A critical barrier to effective health service delivery in low-income countries is the lack of functional medical equipment. The medical engineering professionals, who maintain and manage medical equipment, need adequate training, resources and support to do their job. The skills and expertise of UK clinical engineers and medical physicists can help address the challenges faced by their colleagues overseas through mutually beneficial health partnerships. More>>