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Uk Partnerships for Health Systems

The UK Partnerships for Health Systems programme aims to help Low and Lower Middle-Income Countries (LMICs) build stronger, more resilient health systems and make progress towards universal health coverage (UHC) through improved health service performance for poor and vulnerable populations.

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Our call for applications for Wave 1 Small Grants is now open! Click here for more info.

In this call, we welcome applications for Small Grants from Health Partnerships in any low- and middle-income country in Sub-Saharan Africa or Southeast Asia addressing specific clinical and health system challenges through one, or several, of the following themes:

  • Innovation
  • Gender Equality and/or Social Inclusion
  • Climate Change
  • Blended and Remote Learning

Application deadline: 12th May 2021

Programme Structure

The UKPHS is a grants programme for Health Partnerships. It seeks to:

  • Support the development of stronger and more resilient health systems through better governance, information, and management of health institutions.
  • Provide the health workforce with opportunities to improve skills and knowledge.
  • Build on institutional capacity to decrease any reliance on external support.

UKPHS grants will be awarded through a competitive bidding process managed by THET and the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM). The grants programme will be split into three categories.

Large grants: These are available for long-term strategic Health Partnership activities (up to 30 months) and will fund strategic partnerships that support health workforce development and health systems priorities in ten focus countries in Africa and Asia.

COVID-19 Response fund: These are available for Health Partnerships to contribute remotely to the COVID-19 outbreak, in a wider range of LMICS for a period of 6 months.

Small grants: These will be in a wider range of LMICs for a period of 12-18 months to address health system and health challenges within a number of themes, including innovation, gender equality and/or social inclusion, climate change and blended/remote learning. Full details will be confirmed and announced with the call for applications.

Focus Countries and Themes


The ten countries under the Large Grants stream have been selected based on existing strong FCDO country links, health system need and demand in each country, and on an assessment of the existing footprint of Health Partnership activity between the UK and LMIC health institutions and system.

Under this first round of funding, partnerships implementing projects in Myanmar, Nepal, Uganda and Zambia are invited to apply. Further rounds of funding will be available for Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Ghana, Somalia/Somaliland, Sierra Leone and Tanzania. Applicants aiming to implement projects here should wait for further announcements before making an application.

Small grants and COVID-19 Response grants can operate in any LMIC in Sub-Saharan Africa and South-East Asia


The UKPHS aims to contribute to SDG 3: ensuring healthier lives and promotion of well-being for all at all ages, including supporting countries to achieve universal health coverage.

The key outcome of the programme will be improved capability of the health system to address national priorities, including meeting the needs of the poor and most vulnerable populations, and all projects should feed into this.

It is crucial to the success of this programme and the sustainability of its outcomes that all project activities feed into nationally identified health system priorities. THET and LSTM therefore conducted scoping visits to each country and worked with national stakeholders to determine the health systems strengthening priorities that Health Partnerships are best placed to address. These are outlined in the Country Health System Priority documents that accompany this call.

*The below timeline overview is subject to confirmation and may change.

Health Partnerships are long-term, institutional relationships between UK health institutions (NHS Trusts, hospitals and other organisations, royal colleges, NGOs, professional associations and universities) and health institutions in LMICs. HPs aim to improve health services and systems in LMICs through the reciprocal exchange of skills, knowledge and experience. They seek to address priority gaps and needs identified by the LMIC partners, with capacity building usually delivered by staff from the UK institution on a voluntary basis.

If you are interested in applying for this programme but are not part of a Health Partnership, please complete the survey here: UKPHS Health Partner Survey: Brokering new relationships.

Alternatively you may be able to find a partner through engaging with the Health Partnership Community LinkedIn page. This page also provides details of organisations with additional areas of expertise that applicants might like to consider incorporating into their partnership, in areas such as blended learning, GESI and behaviour change.