London, 7 July 2011: THET, a UK-based international development charity, today announced they had been awarded the contract for a major new programme to help develop the skills of health workers in some of the world’s poorest countries.  They will be working in consortium with HLSP, an international health sector consultancy, for the delivery of the Health Partnership Scheme.

Funded by the UK government’s Department for International Development, the Health Partnership Scheme will harness the expertise of UK health professionals to improve health outcomes by transferring skills and supporting skills development in low income countries, as well as through promoting UK involvement in volunteering. Activities will be wide-ranging and include training and capacity-building for staff, providing practical skills, continuing professional development, and curriculum development.

Andrew Mitchell, Secretary of State for International Development, said:

“Britain’s doctors, nurses and midwives are some of the best in the world and by sharing their skills they can contribute to improving the health of people in some of the world’s poorest countries.

“THET have a proven record in helping countries share their expertise and learn from each other and they are on track to deliver a scheme which is both effective and innovative.”

THET’s Chief Executive, Pia MacRae, welcomed the launch and said:

“The Health Partnership Scheme builds on the long and constructive experience of UK health workers and institutions sharing their knowledge and expertise with counterparts in low-income countries.  Not only have these partnerships helped with the recruitment, training and retention of health workers in some of the poorest countries in the world, but they have also provided a valuable opportunity for UK-based health professionals to improve their skills in challenging environments, offering a training and development opportunity which directly benefits the UK health sector.”

The Health Partnership Scheme awards grants in three areas:

  • 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 Goal 4, 5, and 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.  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.

In addition to grants, the Health Partnership Scheme includes fostering and brokerage activities through the provision of online and ‘real world’ support, community and resources for the formation and growth of effective partnerships that improve health outcomes in DFID priority countries.

The Health Partnership Scheme will target people in most need, with a focus on geographical areas defined as DFID priority countries, in particular in under-served and rural areas where health infrastructure is weakest.

Detailed application forms for Paired Institutional Partnership grants will be available from 1 August 2011. The first round of grants will be for existing partnerships seeking funding of up to £15,000 per year for one or two-year projects. A series of pre-application workshops will be held in Manchester, Cardiff, Glasgow and London during August and September.