On Monday 24th April, on the invitation of The Lord Speaker and Lord Crisp, THET held the Parliamentary launch of our policy report ‘In Our Mutual Interest’ in The River Room at the House of Lords.
The event brought together parliamentarians, report contributors such as Professor Sally Davies, CMO for England, and our partners across the NHS, Whitehall and the private sector. The evening also provided an opportunity to celebrate the work of THET and to thank our founder Sir Eldryd Parry for establishing the health partnership model over 25 years ago.
Speeches were given by Lord Fowler, who drew on his profound understanding of the response to HIV and AIDS to talk about the vital contribution THET is making in training health workers. Lord Crisp spoke of the immense impact of the THET-managed DFID Health Partnership Scheme, which has seen 74,000 health workers trained across Africa and Asia.
The audience was particularly moved by Hannah Webster’s account, a UK midwife, and one of the 2,000 volunteers who have given over 87,000 hours to spend time overseas training their counterparts. Hannah spoke of her time spent in Uganda as part of the Knowledge for Change project, funded by THET:
“Being a midwife is undoubtedly a labour of love. In the context of a large labour ward however, this sentiment can slowly be eroded. I am convinced that I brought benefits to Uganda. I am equally convinced that I hugely benefitted from this experience. It is in our mutual interest to continue to support volunteers overseas, not only for those living in some of the world’s poorest countries but also for our own NHS and the UK as a whole.”
Judith Ellis, THET’s Chair of Trustees, then highlighted the life-saving effect of practices we often take for granted in the UK, vaccines which for babies suffering from such brittle bones as a result of Tetanus that just a nudge of their cots caused their bones to break are vitally important in securing a healthier future for all. We were reminded that there is much still left to do but that the partnership model we champion at THET is one of the most effective tools we have at our disposal.
Ben Simms, CEO of THET, expressed thanks to all those who continue to support THET.
“The world needs to recruit an additional 13 million health workers by 2030. THET and our partners in the NHS are at the heart of this challenge. We could not be operating with more urgency nor with a greater sense of purpose. And ‘In Our Mutual Interest’, makes the point, that investing in health systems overseas also helps strengthen our own country, paving the way to greater innovation and higher levels of motivation in the NHS.”
As always at THET we are keen to look ahead and to keep pushing our own thinking on new development initiatives and policy stances. We continue to build our knowledge in relation to health partnerships and the concepts of mutual benefit, co-development and bidirectional learning. Our next paper will explore how we should be responding to the persistence of poverty in middle-income countries, many of which now boast world-class health services. This thinking will inform the discussions at our conference in October, tickets for which are on sale now!
To read 'In Our Mutual Interest' please click here.
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