The NHS Yorkshire and the Humber & NHS North West (North to the North Partnership for Health) is a strategic health Link between NHS Yorkshire & the Humber/ North West regions and the North West Frontier Province of Pakistan. In October 2005, a major earthquake hit northern Pakistan killing 75,000 people and leaving thousands injured and homeless. There was an immediate and huge response from the Yorkshire and the Humber and North West regions, both of which have large populations with ancestral links to the affected area. The earthquake devastated the local healthcare system and the NHS in Yorkshire and the Humber and the North West played a key role in the emergency response.
Dialogue continued between the two NHS regions and the Government of the North West Frontier of Pakistan (NWFP) on establishing a long term strategic partnership between our provinces/regions. In May 2007, we visited NWFP to explore this with the Provincial Government’s Department of Health, leaders in NWFP’s main hospitals, universities, the British Government’s Department for International Development (DFID), and local voluntary organisations.
We wish to develop a long term partnership of equals with focused outcomes and supporting existing arrangements. The benefits to NWFP will be in supporting achieving WHO Millennium Development Goals. The benefits to the NHS will include better understanding and engagement with local communities of Pakistani (as well as other developing countries) origin and developing better skills for managing emergency responses (such as an influenza pandemic).
We agreed that the partnership should concentrate on three specific outcomes, namely:
- To support NWFP’s developing health sector regulations/quality management
- To support building leadership and capacity planning
- To support emergency planning and disaster management
The success of the project will be dependent on support, commitment and sharing know how from colleagues and organisations in the NHS locally and with other partners. Placements are being developed in both regions for exchanges with an emphasis on building capacity through training and mentoring.
Ms Isobel Duckworth, Specialist Trainee in Public Health