Building and Sustaining Effective Partnerships for Training the Next Generation of Global Health Leaders

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Ann Glob Health. 2021 Jul 12;87(1):66. doi: 10.5334/aogh.3214. eCollection 2021.


INTRODUCTION: Partnerships are essential to creating effective global health leadership training programs. Global pandemics, including the HIV/AIDS pandemic, and more recently the COVID-19 pandemic, have tested the impact and stability of healthcare systems. Partnerships must be fostered to prepare the next generation of leaders to collaborate effectively and improve health globally.

OBJECTIVES: We provide key matrices that predict success of partnerships in building global health leadership capacity. We highlight opportunities and challenges to building effective partnerships and provide recommendations to promote development of equitable and mutually beneficial partnerships.

FINDINGS: Critical elements for effective partnership when building global health leadership capacity include shared strategic vision, transparency and excellent communication, as well as intentional monitoring and evaluation of the partnership, not just the project or program. There must be recognition that partnerships can be unpredictable and unequal, especially if the end is not defined early on. Threats to equitable and effective partnerships include funding and co-funding disparities between partners from high-income and low-income countries, inequalities, unshared vision and priorities, skewed decision-making levels, and limited flexibility to minimize inequalities and make changes. Further, imbalances in power, privilege, position, income levels, and institutional resources create opportunities for exploitation of partners, particularly those in low-income countries, which widens the disparities and limits success and sustainability of partnerships. These challenges to effective partnering create the need for objective documentation of disparities at all stages, with key milestones to assess success and the environment to sustain the partnerships and their respective goals.

CONCLUSIONS: Developing effective and sustainable partnerships requires a commitment to equality from the start by all partners and an understanding that there will be challenges that could derail otherwise well-intended partnerships. Guidelines and training on evaluation of partnerships exist and should be used, including generic indicators of equity, mutual benefit, and the added value of partnering.

KEY TAKEAWAYS: Effective partnerships in building global health leadership capacity require shared strategic vision and intentional monitoring and evaluation of goalsInequalities in partnerships may arise from disparities in infrastructure, managerial expertise, administrative and leadership capacity, as well as limited mutual benefit and mutual respectTo promote equitable and effective partnerships, it is critical to highlight and monitor key measures for success of partnerships at the beginning of each partnership and regularly through the lifetime of the partnership.We recommend that partnerships should have legal and financial laws through executed memoranda of understanding, to promote accountability and facilitate objective monitoring and evaluation of the partnership itself.More research is needed to understand better the contextual predictors of the broader influence and sustainability of partnership networks in global health leadership training.

PMID:34307069 | PMC:PMC8284501 | DOI:10.5334/aogh.3214