What is ESTHER
ESTHER Switzerland contributes to the promotion of institutional health partnerships worldwide. We understand institutional health partnerships as a collaborative relationship between at least two institutions based on trust, equity and mutual interest to work as peers towards common objectives. The partnerships contribute to the improvement of health services through reciprocal institutional strengthening, capacity building and health workforce development. ESTHER Switzerland partners work in low and middle-income countries (LMIC) to tackle priority issues for health and help achieve the UN Global Goals for Sustainable Development (SDGs). The focus lies on SDG 3 (Good Health and Well-being) and 17 (Partnerships for the Goals).
ESTHER Switzerland aims at effective north-south and south-south partnerships that can build capacity of the health workforce and health institutions and ultimately contribute to Health System Strengthening.
Promote reciprocal and mutually beneficial partnerships between Swiss health actors, universities and NGOs and health institutes in low- and middle-income countries with the overall aim of health system strengthening.
ESTHER Switzerland responds to the paradigm shift in development work from conditionality-driven, aid dominated north–south relationships to a greater emphasis on partnership. ESTHER Switzerland recognizes the need to put committed developing country governments and their people at the centre of their development process by emphasizing the importance of collaborative needs assessment, respectful partnerships and shared accountability.
ESTHER Switzerland fills a gap in the Swiss development work by bringing together Swiss based health actors and Swiss implementing partners at the global level. ESTHER Switzerland provides an opportunity to the Swiss health expertise to be put to use and valued at global level, while fostering learning between health systems in two ways.
We believe that health actors from all backgrounds can learn and benefit from each other. We believe that only by working together at an equal level can we contribute to improving the quality of health services delivery and influence health policy. We are bringing health actors together.
ESTHER (Ensemble pour une Solidarité Thérapeutique Hospitalière En Réseau) was founded by France in 2001 with an initial focus on HIV/AIDS. Over the following years other European countries joined the ESTHER initiative. Switzerland joined the European ESTHER Alliance in 2011, also focusing on HIV/AIDS and reproductive health. In 2020, ESTHER Switzerland is entering its second phase of partnership funding, with a general focus on Health System Strengthening in low- and middle-income countries. There are no restrictions in terms of health topics. ESTHER Switzerland was originally hosted by the HUG, Geneva. Since 2016 it moved to the Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine at the University of Bern.