Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM) and Liverpool Associates in Tropical Health (LATH) have received a £560,000 grant from the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) to set up and deliver a UK International Health Links Centre (IHLC).
The IHLC will act as a ‘one-stop-shop’ source of information, providing independent advice and guidance to potential developers of links and those wishing to strengthen existing links between health organisations in the developing world and those in the UK. With a dedicated open access website, a library of resources will be available which is appropriate to both international users and NHS organisations in the UK and which will assist them in developing those links.
Project Leader Dr Tim O’Dempsey said “We aim to establish the Centre as the international ‘gold standard’ model for promoting effective international health links.”
The creation of an IHLC has been informed by a recent independent review of existing links projects, commissioned by DFID and the Department of Health as part of the Government’s response to Lord Crisp’s report, Global Health Partnerships: The UK contribution to health in developing countries, in February 2007, in which he called for the UK health economy to add value to the development work of DFID, supporting the scale-up of training, education and employment of healthcare workers in developing countries.
The IHLC will facilitate connections and knowledge sharing between developing country institutions and all four countries in the UK and promote and share good practice and learning.
UK International Development Minister, Mike Foster said: “British doctors and nurses have an opportunity to make a difference by training staff in developing countries who can then serve their local communities without the need to leave home. Their skill, commitment and drive will ultimately save thousands of lives. We are proud of the difference they are making and will continue to support initiatives like this which give them the opportunity to help the world’s most vulnerable people.”
In addition, the IHLC will signpost UK partners to developing country health plans, to tools that can help them evaluate the impact of their work, and act as a signposting function to appropriate agencies for health professionals interested in voluntary or humanitarian work.
Through the creation of these links it is envisaged that the capacity of partners in the developing world will be strengthened and the knowledge base of UK organisations will be increased. Launching later this year, the IHLC will initially be funded for two years.