Background: There is increasing interest in global health partnerships. However, evidence of benefit remains weak. We report on the impact of a 10-year public health partnership between the UK and Swaziland. Swaziland has the highest rates of TB and HIV in the world. Health services are being overwhelmed and patients suffer the cost and inconvenience of centralized services. Our international health partnership was set up to promote the translation of public health research into practice. Methods: The partnership is based on six principles: sustainability; robust measurement; evidence-based practice; patient-centred improvement; systems approach and researchers as implementers. Based on rigorous health needs assessments and informed by international evidence, we have achieved a number of successful changes. Results: The partnership has been successful in the development of a community TB service; a chronic disease programme for epilepsy; implementation of guidelines; implementation of ART programmes; nurse-led community ART clinics; innovations to improve follow-up and expert patients. Conclusion: Global inequalities are increasing rapidly and international partnership has an important role in tackling this threat. Partnerships should be based on sustainable, long-term links with a strong foundation of trust and mutual support. Effective leadership, good communication, clinical engagement and interagency collaboration are pre-requisites for the successful implementation of success.
Journal of Public Health (2010) 32 (2) 277-282 [doi:10.1093/pubmed/fdp129].