Global health partnerships with the UK to help developing countries has been considered as one of the tenants of NHS activities since the G8 Gleneagles summit in 2005.
North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust has been encouraged to develop links with less developed countries in order to offer training and aid skill transfer and in the process to learn about international health challenges.
The Trust established a Health link with Mbeya, Tanzania under the aegis of Vision 2020 and Tropical Health Education Trust (THET) in October 2007.
A Memorandum of Understanding was signed by the Chief Executive of the Trust and the Director of the Mbeya Referral Hospital on behalf of the Ministry of Health of Tanzania in 2007. A Link Project Group was established at each institution to drive the Link forward with a commitment over a 5 year period. Priorities needs of the Mbeya Referral Hospital were identified and a time plan was set in motion for action and evaluation of the Link.
In May 2008 a team of three staff members from the North Cumbria University Hospital NHS Trust visited Mbeya Referral Hospital for a period of two weeks. They worked with their counterparts in Mbeya in identifying areas of improvement which could be made with minimal resource implications and also advice in change of practices that could be implemented.
Initial evaluation following the visit has been extremely positive from the reports received from Mbeya. Change in practices has improved the health outcomes for the local population. Requests from Mbeya Hospital for further training was received favourably by the Link Project Group of the North Cumbria University Hospitals and have now facilitated a visit for three members of the Mbeya Hospital Staff to visit North Cumbria Hospitals for a two week period in May 2009.
All the Trust staff are encouraged to participate in the Link activities as the needs of the Mbeya Hospital are huge and the skill and expertise we have is of enormous value to them.
The North Cumbria NHS Tanzanian Link is funded entirely through charitable donations.
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