The European ESTHER Alliance is a network of Governments and their institutions and organizations. It mobilizes health expertise and health institution partnerships to contribute to the global health agenda as part of international development cooperation involving low-income countries.
Originally established in 2002 to face the emergency represented by HIV/AIDS in developing countries and to counter the blatant inequalities between the global North and South in access to treatment and care for people living with HIV/AIDS, the initiative gradually expanded its mandate and fields of intervention.
The European ESTHER Alliance is consequently involved across a range of Global Health priorities. The unfinished business addressing Mother and Child health will continue to be a priority together with communicable diseases, non-communicable diseases, hygiene and patient safety, with the main goal to strengthen health systems, improve quality of service delivery and ultimately better health outcomes.
This represents a broadened agenda for the European ESTHER Alliance, matching the international agenda in health, and specifically the 2030 agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals. The European ESTHER Alliance is dedicated to SDG 3, to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.
Switzerland as a member of the European ESTHER Alliance
Switzerland joined the European ESTHER Alliance in 2011. The ESTHER Secretariat was first hosted by the Geneva University Hospitals and then, in 2015, by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) until moving at the beginning of 2016 to the Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine at the University of Bern. The Swiss Federal Office of Public Health and the SDC provide technical and financial support at the Swiss as well as the European level. Switzerland is represented on the EEA Board through the SDC. Switzerland is actively engaged in the implementation of the EEA strategic framework and to date five institutions have signed letters of intent to become partners of ESTHER Switzerland, while other institutions and organisations also attend ESTHER Switzerland meetings. Several meetings have taken place to map already established hospital partnerships and explore setting up further ESTHER partnerships. ESTHER Switzerland also supported a session of the European ESTHER Alliance on institutional health partnerships at the Geneva Health Forum 2014, though lack of funding and differing thematic and geographic priorities of ESTHER Switzerland and SDC previously constrained building a project portfolio.