International hospital collaboration (IHC): how can we promote ethical and responsible partnerships?

Date:  24 June 2024

Since the 1970s, hospital community practices have undergone profound changes due to evolving public health issues such as epidemiological transitions and environmental health concerns. These changes have also reshaped ethical perspectives on care and research.

Advancing equity and sustainability in international hospital collaboration

There are legitimate and shared expectations for North-South equity in IHC projects, whether in terms of objectives, implementation methods or funding. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted both the strengths and weaknesses of healthcare systems, requiring us to reflect on our current practices. In addition, IHC projects need to integrate the right concepts and processes to decarbonise healthcare and increase climate resilience.

To address these issues, the International Hospital Federation (IHF) partnered with the Geneva University Hospitals (HUG) and University Hospital de La Réunion for a full-day event on international hospital collaboration (IHC). The event was held in Geneva, in partnership with the Geneva Health Forum and parallel to the World Health Assembly. Over 20 posters showcasing IHC initiatives were displayed.

Workshop highlights

The event featured a plenary session and three interactive workshops, all focusing on ethical and responsible hospital collaboration. We, at the Geneva Sustainability Centre, specifically contributed to the third workshop, which focused on environmental sustainability. This workshop was moderated by:

  • Sonia Roschnik, Executive Director, Geneva Sustainability Centre
  • Yves Giebens, Head of Hospital Services Programs, International Committee of the Red Cross
  • Nejoua Ben Amara, Director General, National Institute of Nutrition and Food Technology, Ministry of Health, Tunisia

20 participants joined this workshop to discuss the role of IHC to address climate resilient health facilities while promoting low-carbon ad sustainable practices. Key priorities identified during the workshop included:

  • Sharing good practices and available tools
  • Finding solutions “fit-for-context”
  • Considering diverse perspectives from patients, communities, managerial staff, funders, and suppliers for all IHC projects
  • Recognizing the importance of the “quick wins” and co-benefits.

A full report about the key outcomes of this fruitful day is in preparation and will be shared when available. In the meantime, you can visit the event’s website (in French), where you can access the recording of the plenary session and view the displayed posters.

For more information, please contact Sylvia Basterrechea at sylvia.basterrechea@ihf-fih.org.

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