ESTHER Switzerland (Ensemble pour une Solidarité Thérapeutique Hospitalière En Réseau)

ESTHER Switzerland provides a mechanism for systematic mobilisation and use of Swiss healthcare expertise to strengthen human resource capacities for health and consequently the quality of service delivery in low and middle-income countries. ESTHER promotes institutional partnerships between Swiss hospitals or research entities with institutions of the same kind in partner countries so as to address priority needs in terms of service delivery.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Primary health care
Medical services
Health systems strengthening
01.12.2019 - 30.11.2024
CHF  2’793’967
Background In many low and middle-income countries, unmet health needs as well as limited availability and quality of health services remain a major challenge. Innovative practices and partnerships are required to advance Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and the Sustainable Development Goals more broadly. UHC means that all people and communities have access to quality essential health services they need, without suffering from financial hardship when using them. Switzerland is a centre of excellence for health care and research. Thus, Swiss institutions can provide valuable knowhow and expertise through institutional health partnerships and thereby contribute to addressing priority needs of partner institutions in low and middle-income countries. ESTHER Switzerland will contribute to test and find new and innovative ways that improve healthcare staff’s practice and performance, and enhance efficiency and quality of service delivery through peer learning and capacity building between healthcare experts.
Objectives Contribution to improved service delivery in health care institutions in low and middle-income countries by means of institutional health partnerships.
Target groups

Direct: health care staff in hospitals in low and middle-income countries.

Indirectly: Poor and vulnerable populations in the catchment area of these institutions as well as national decision makers and managers in health systems in partner countries.

Medium-term outcomes

1)     Institutional health partnerships in low and middle-income countries that involve Swiss institutions address priority needs of the partner institutions and populations are demand-driven and build on Swiss knowhow and expertise.

2)     Results, lessons learned and good practices from institutional health partnership projects involving Swiss institutions are processed and used to influence technical and policy discussions and decisions at national, regional and global level.

3)     The ESTHER Switzerland profile and organisational structure are strengthened and funding is diversified.


Expected results:  

·       ESTHER Switzerland partnership projects, mainly involving hospitals, are selected, improved and implemented as per the quality standards of the ESTHER Global Alliance and ESTHER Switzerland.

·       All projects integrate in their proposal a Theory of Change including in which way their intervention may trigger a systemic change and demonstrate how this was applied during the implementation.

·       Results, lessons learned and good practices from ESTHER Switzerland projects are synthesised and disseminated within and beyond the institutions involved in the partnership project, as well as the national health system in the respective project country.

·       ESTHER Switzerland Strategy is developed, communicated and effectively implemented.

·      ESTHER Switzerland fundraising and communication capacities are strengthened with the development and implementation of specific fundraising and communication concepts.

Results from previous phases:  

·     ESTHER Switzerland is increasingly known as a centre of competence for institutional health partnerships.

·     Between 2016-2019, 19 partnership projects were realised with involvement and expertise of Swiss health institution (mainly hospitals). Efforts are required to best possibly match the demand from partner institutions with the offer and available expertise from Swiss institutions.

·     The chances to achieve sustainable results through institutional health partnerships are increased when participating Swiss health institutions have expertise in international cooperation in health or when they partner with Swiss institutions who have such expertise.

·     The transfer of good practices from a participating institution in a low and middle-income country to other similar institutions or the health system in the given country needs to be more explicitly built into the projects.

·     The Global Alliance for Institutional Health Partnerships is a valuable platform for knowledge and experience sharing.

Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Credit area Development cooperation
Project partners Contract partner
Swiss Academic and Research Institution
  • Unversität Bern

Other partners
Swiss NGOs working in health. Future ESTHER Switzerland donors.
Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF    2’793’967 Swiss disbursement to date CHF    1’000’000
Project phases Phase 2 01.12.2019 - 30.11.2024   (Current phase) Phase 1 01.03.2015 - 30.11.2019   (Completed)