Webinar Week 3 Summary: North-South Partnerships in the Context of COVID19: How Best to Respond

April 10, 2020

Webinar Summary Compiled by Ashley Scott, IGHN Key Correspondent/MSc Global Health TCD

Ruari Brugha Anchor’s Update: provided a weekly update on the COVID-19 status globally.

Ben Simms: Chief Executive, THET Partnership for Global Health.

  • Maintaining communication is crucial with partnerships.
  • Best way of supporting LMICs is with clinical expertise and solidarity. Mental health impacts on healthcare workers will be immense due to stress and pressure and partnerships have a role in expressing solidarity and support.
  • There are corporates and members of parliament in the UK who are concerned with the epidemic affecting LMICs and long-term partnerships are the best means of getting funding onto the ground.
  • Unprecedented levels of solidarity and generosity are needed and there needs to be a movement for a greater assistance for LMICs both medically and economically.

Shams Syed: Quality Team Lead at the World Health Organization. He currently directly oversees WHO work on twinning partnerships for improvement.

  • Partnerships have a pragmatic role, which needs to be directly relevant to the LMIC partner. This can be achieved through technical exchange, learning for action, solidarity through compassion for each other. Partnerships are well placed because they know the practicalities and priorities of the work on the front line and can provide that support.
  • Partnerships can assist in ensuring that care is effective, safe and patient centred? People need to want to access service!
  • Partnerships keep us grounded in ensuring that guidance is being implemented operationally on the ground.
  • Strong emphasis on maintaining essential health services.
  • Priorities need to be set in the short, medium and long terms, ensuring that by the recovery phase, we can build back better.

Arley Gomez: Research Director, Fundación Universitaria de Ciencias de la Salud, Columbia.

  • Communication is a very important tool for institutional strength and Governments required expertise to help them to make larger decisions for countries’ health.
  • Columbia is in cooperation with the Cooperation Institute in Switzerland who advised the Columbian Government on healthcare system strengthening and control measures.
  • Research partnerships are important in highlighting the importance in learning and information sharing. Examples included Universities working towards creating new devices, public health measures and intelligence networks.
  • Worldwide collaboration and coordination is important towards a shared goal.

Mwenya Kasonde: Independent Global Health Consultant, Zambia. Previously served as Assistant Director for Global Health. 

  • In Zambia there are 39 cases recorded currently and they have reported their first death.
  • Testing and reporting in Africa has been slow, so reporting of the accurate number of cases may be slow or inaccurate.
  • Ministry in Zambia has been proactive with commendable leadership. Come together as multisector and multi-stakeholder approach with strong communication to public.
  • Academic partnerships are crucial at this time to ensure that all systems come out of this stronger. This needs to be shared between North-South partnerships as this is a rich environment for growth.
  • What we do as leaders affects how people react at grassroots level, especially with health seeking behaviours.

David Weakliam: Former Chair of ESTHER Alliance, Leader of Global Health Programme in the Health Service Executive).   

  • Maintaining commitment and solidarity with partners in their time of greatest need is crucial.
  • Partnerships can assist in identifying which program aspects can continue, which need to suspend, what different activities can we undertake that is of help to our LMIC partners.
  • Don’t press on with timelines- be flexible with partnerships and adapt to partner needs.
  • Partnerships need to be a source of support and collaboration for teams on the ground. E.g. Packaging information for immediate needs such as helping to tailor information for their specific context.
  • Need to support LMICs, especially when there be a more intense preoccupation within our own countries and we need to support them and everyone has a role to play in advocacy towards a truly global response.


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