Promotion of Institutional Links in Health in the Commonwealth You do not have access to this content

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Margaret Thomas
01 Jan 1991
9781848594852 (PDF)
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  • Foreword

    This year, at the beginning of the final decade in which we commit ourselves to reach the goal of Health for All by the Year 2000, the Steering Group is meeting to consider the progress of the Commonwealth Health Development Programme. There is, at this time, a renewed emphasis on the importance of human resource development as a key strategy in improving the working of health services. Develoment is seen as not simply furthering a series of isolated donor projects in particular enclaves but improving the functioning of the whole health system.

  • The Concept of Institutional Linking or Twinning

    Linking or twinning can be defined as a special professional relationship of co-operation between two health institutions. Frequently one is in a developed country and the second in a developing country [North-South link]. Other but rarer linkages have been established between two or more developing country institutions [South-South link].

  • The Context for Linking Arrangements

    Any programme of collaboration between institutions in different countries has to take account of the changing international, national and institutional environment in which it has to function.

  • The Objectives of Linking

    A Link must have a defined purpose and objective. It can, in itself, be the main element of a relationship or it may be a single element in a project that involves several and varied activities.

  • Starting a Link

    Links can start in a variety of ways, for example: personal contact leading to a shared interest or enthusiasm which is developed through a link; the desire to draw on the experience of another institution or organisation for development of a new activity, a new training course or some administrative or technical skills; the need for access to laboratory or field work facilities which requires linkage with another institution; as a result of a "top-down" approach, an initiative may come from a government or aid agency as a way of meeting a specific need included in an aid package, e.g. establishing base-line data about a population before planning an immunisation programme; through a desire to extend or formalize an existing informal arrangement.

  • Characteristics of Good Linking Arrangements

    From a number of evaluation studies it is possible to note that adherence to certain guiding principles will work to ensure the success of link arrangements.

  • Costs of Linking

    Link arrangements are financially and organisationally attractive to donor agencies, since projects are frequently small-scale and not costly. Two aspects in particular are worth noting.

  • Link Evaluation Procedures

    Evaluation has always been an essential procedure in the management and planning of donor assistance. It is more critical today as aid agencies find their budgets not being increased in line with inflation and governments demanding more accountability.

  • The Way Ahead: Recommendations for Action

    One way of taking forward the active promotion of institutional links would be to establish a special programme [maybe named LINKS] perhaps within the Health Programme of the Secretariat or attached to one of the major donor countries of the Commonwealth. Alternatively a Commonwealth University or other group or institution might be interested in taking on the responsibility with appropriate financial backing. Money could be sought from WHO, UNDP, the EEC and the Secretariat itself.

  • Appendices
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