Grant Recipients

Each of the Institutions that are successful in their application to receive a Start-Up Grant work with ESTHER Ireland to implement their proposed partnership. These institutional partnerships may later apply to become ESTHER Ireland Partners. This involves audits of the partnership with both institutions as well as a closer working relationship with ESTHER Ireland to ensure high quality productive partnerships are built and maintained. More information on the process of becoming an ESTHER Ireland partnership can be found here.

To-date, ESTHER Ireland has awarded 10 Start-Up Grants. Please click on each entry to reveal more information about the grantees.

Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin - Muhimbili National Hospital/Muhimbili University for Medicine & Allied Health -TANZANIA

Uniting expertise to improve paediatric oncology services and child healthcare delivery

For nearly a decade the Our Lady’s Children Hospital Crumlin (OLCHC) has been working together with the Muhimbili National Hospital (MNH) and the Muhimbili University for Medicine & Allied Health (MUHAS) to deliver children’s cancer care in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.  The ESTHER Start-up Grant has supported all involved to formalise the partners’ relationship while expanding the scope of their work in paediatric oncology services and children’s healthcare delivery into other related departments at the MNH.  Research is a fundamental part for the development of paediatric health disciplines.  This partnership will assist in creating access to specialised research facilities and quality expertise, with the aims of improving childhood cancer survival and positively impacting on broader childhood healthcare delivery in MNH.  Exchange visits between the partners are under way, and a formal MoU was signed by the partners in May 2015.

Partnership Coordinators: 

Dr. Trish Scanlan (Paediatric Oncologist, Children’s Cancer Programme Muhimbili National Hospital, Muhimbili University for Medicine & Allied Health, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania)

Lorcan Birthistle (Chief Executive, Our Lady’s Children Hospital, Crumlin, Ireland)


Department of Public Health, MidWest - Lal Gadh Leprosy Services Centre -NEPAL

Empowering Leprosy Patients and Reducing Stigma ‘For Life’:  A Project of the Nepal Leprosy Trust

There has been a relationship between individuals in Ireland and LLSC for over 20 years now.  Over the years, collaboration has taken the form of training of health practitioners, exchange of expertise, and a focus on various public health priorities.  An ESTHER Start-up Grant has supported the group involved to formalise the partnership between the two institutions: LLSC and the Department of Public Health, HSE Mid West. The partnership will focus on improving surveillance and research capacities, strengthening the provision of preventative and equitable measures of healthcare addressed in the second phase of the NLT Village Alive programme. These initiatives include empowering individuals, families and communities affected by Leprosy and working to reduce (and eventually eliminate) existing stigma. Through the formation of self-care groups and patient training, partners will work to increase the quality of life for those affected by the disease.  Since 2014, with assistance from Irish Aid and the NLT (Ireland), LLSC operate Leprosy programmes in four districts: Dhanusa, Mahottari, Sarlahi, and Sindhuli.

Partnership Coordinators: 

Dr. Krishna Bahadur Tamang (Medical Coordinator, Lalgadh Leprosy Hospital & Services Centre, Dhanusha, Nepal)

Dambar Bahadur Aley (Ag. Programme Director, Lalgadh Leprosy Hospital & Services Centre, Dhanusha, Nepal)

Dr. Anne Dee (Specialist in Public Health Medicine, Department of Public Health, HSE Mid-West, Mount Kennett House, Limerick, Ireland)


Institute of Community Health Nursing -INTERNATIONAL

From Local to Global: Public Health Nursing Networks Extend Their Reach

The Institute of Community Health Nursing is a professional body that represents community nurses in Ireland and promotes community-nursing services through education, development and research. Through the collective efforts of over 100 public health nurses and affiliate organizations across the world recognising the need for professional knowledge and skills sharing, the Global Network of Public Health Nursing was established. The Institute of Community Health Nursing is leading the formation of this global network and was awarded an ESTHER Start-up Grant to support the development of a communication platform that could bring the partners together. Through the website, the network is ensuring the inclusion and participation of individual public health nurses across the forum. Partners believe that this is one of the biggest challenges, but also an essential asset to the successful operation of the network. Intra-national and-continental discussions will be used to establish the governing framework and structure of the network as well. Public health nursing is an indispensable resource for health systems worldwide, it is anticipated that the extension of this global collaborative network will have far-reaching impacts.

Partnership Coordinators: 

Mary O’Dowd (Institute of Community Health Nursing, Ireland)

Global Partners (Country-Based Public Health Nurses and Nursing Bodies)


National Office of Acute Hospitals, HSE- National Cancer Institute, University of Gezira -SUDAN

Collaborative Institutional Learning on Cancer Control, Treatment & Prevention

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) at the University of Gezira (UG) first starting collaborating with HSE partners in 2012 through a medical conference held in Madani, Republic of Sudan.  While the NCI is a leading cancer treatment institution providing both clinical and academic areas of expertise, presentations on recent progress made by the HSE with regards to cancer treatment in Ireland sparked the opportunity for knowledge sharing and learning.  In light of the rising cancer incidence in Sudan, the current challenges faced by the Sudanese healthcare system are similar to those previously experienced in Ireland. Stemming from the common interests in comprehensive national cancer control, the ESTHER Start-up Grant will help to reinforce the basis for this partnership and institutional collaboration. Representatives from the NCI have already made a visit to Ireland. In order to better understand the unknown burden of cancer, the there is a need to improve healthcare infrastructure and expertise for oncological service delivery and treatment, while improving the quality of life for affected individuals and communities. The way forward now is towards control and prevention. Based on the current work of the HSE National Cancer Control Programme (NCCP) and the NCI National Cancer Registry, we look forward to sharing more updates from these partners in the future.

Partnership Coordinators:

Dr. Dafaalla Abuidris (National Cancer Institute, University of Gezira, Wadmadani, Republic of Sudan)

Ian Carter (National Director for Strategic Developments, Health Services Executive, Ireland)


Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia-Addis Ababa University & the Centre for Global Health, Trinity College Dublin-ETHIOPIA

An End to Obstetric Fistula Means a Restoration of Women’s Dignity

Across the Global South over 2 million women are living with obstetric fistula, and an estimated 50,000 to 100,000 new cases each year.  Obstetric fistula is a preventable condition, indicative of weakened health systems that are failing to support our women during such crucial times of care and delivery.  With the International Day to End Obstetric Fistula on May 23rd, ESTHER Ireland is delighted to spotlight an exciting and recent partnership between the Centre for Global Health Trinity College Dublin (TCD), University College Dublin (UCD), the Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia (HFE) and Addis Ababa University (AAU).  Founded in 1974, HFE includes the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital, five regional hospitals across Ethiopia, the Hamlin College of Midwives, and Rehabilitation Centre.  The HFE provides treatment, prevention, and rehabilitation services, as well as training of skilled surgeons and midwives.

With the support of an ESTHER Ireland Start-up Grant, a research team from TCD and UCD will travel to the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital in October to conduct a participatory needs assessment with HFE and AAU. The purpose of the needs assessment is to establish a research agenda that addresses key issues relating to the prevention of fistula through the provision of quality maternal care; the social, psychological, and physical management of care for women who undergo treatment for fistula, and the rehabilitation needs of women following treatment. Together, the partnership aims to create a research culture within HFE that contributes to greater participation in research and improves clinical practice.

“We have a moral obligation, as a global community, to complete the unfinished agenda of eradicating fistula. Together, let us keep our promises to support universal human rights and ensure the health and dignity of women and girls everywhere.”

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

Partnership Coordinators:

Dr. Frédérique Vallières (Associate Professor, International Doctorate in Global Health Coordinator, Centre for Global Health, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland)

Dr. Karen Ballard (Research Director, Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia)


NUI Galway - Saolta Healthcare Group – Copperbelt University – Ndola Central Hospital - ZAMBIA

Building Capacity Across Disciplines in Zambia

A Start-Up Grant has been awarded to the developing partnership between the NUI Galway College of Medicine, Nursing, and Health Sciences, and the Saolta University Healthcare Group,  and their counterparts in Zambia’s Copperbelt province: Copperbelt University School of Medicine, Ndola Central Hospital, and the associated School of Nursing in Ndola. This partnership will focus on building capacity in healthcare, education, and research, and the Start-Up Grant will aid reciprocal exploratory visits from Zambia to Ireland, and vice versa, by key senior management and operations staff.

Partnership Coordinators

Dr. Diarmuid O’Donovan (Director of Public Health, HSE West; Senior Lecturer in Social & Preventive Medicine, NUI Galway, Galway, Ireland)

Dr Victor Mukonka (Senior Lecturer in Public Health, Copperbelt University, Ndola, Zambia)

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University College Dublin – Bo Government Hospital – SIERRA LEONE

Essential Training in Maternal and Newborn Care

UCD’s Centre for Emergency Medical Sciences (CEMS) and Bo Government Hospital in Sierra Leone have been awarded a Start-Up Grant to help develop their partnership, which aims to improve educational support for staff in Bo to overcome deficits in training for maternal and newborn care. The partnership also aims to provide training in data interpretation for better evaluation and management of patients, as well as research. Eventually, the partnership will add capacity for local staff to act as trainers and mentors. The grant will enable CEMS staff to conduct a partnership visit to Bo Government Hospital, and sign a formal Memorandum of Understanding with the District Health Department.

Partnership Coordinators:

Professor Gerard Bury (Director of the Centre for Emergency Medical Sciences, UCD, Dublin, Ireland)

Dr Niall Conroy (PhD student, Centre for Emergency Medical Sciences, UCD, Dublin, Ireland)

Dr Chernor Jalloh (Head of the Department of Paediatrics, Bo Government Hospital, Bo, Republic of Sierra Leone)

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LauraLynn Children’s Hospice – Palliative Care Support Trust - MALAWI

Skills Development for Children’s Palliative Care Staff in Malawi

LauraLynn Children’s Hospice aims to build a reciprocal learning partnership with the Palliative Care Support Trust in Malawi, whose objectives include the development of staff members’ psychosocial skills, resilience, and coping in working with children with palliative and life-limiting conditions, and their families. The Start-Up Grant will assist in the initial visits to establish formal links between the institutions, needs assessments, and workshops to facilitate reciprocal learning and experiences around Clinical Debriefing, and the use of activity adaptation to enhance engagement, social interaction, and quality of life.

Partnership Coordinators:

Niamh McEnerney (Practice Development Nurse Manager), Anna Brown (Senior Occupational Therapist) (LauraLynn, Ireland’s Children’s Hospice, Dublin, Ireland)

Dr Cornelius Kondwani Huwa (Medical Director, Children’s Palliative Care, Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital, Malawi)

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EQUALS Initiative – Northern Technical College - ZAMBIA

Fulfilling Medical Equipment and Training Needs in Zambia

The EQUALS Initiative was established in 2013 as a collaboration between the HSE and the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland, based around donations of medical equipment from Irish hospitals to institutions in low- and middle- income countries, and the provision of training to improve service quality. To-date, 15 Irish hospitals and several companies have made valuable donations of life-saving equipment. EQUALS are currently working in Zambia to address the country’s urgent need for trained and qualified biomedical engineering personnel to support medical equipment services at hospitals nationwide. The current Start-Up Grant will support partnership visits to Zambia by an EQUALS team of clinical engineers, who will conduct an assessment of equipment needs at Northern Technical College (NORTEC) in Ndola, and identify opportunities for collaboration, with special focus on training capacity and equipment. The team will work closely with the Director, senior staff, and trainers at NORTEC, as well as having the opportunity to interact with current students of NORTEC’s Biomedical Engineering programme. During the visit, the team will also meet with staff of THET Zambia in Lusaka, to ensure that external support and collaboration can be delivered in a coordinated manner.

Partnership Coordinators:

Ms. Taimse Tracey (EQUALS Initiative Administrator, Programme Coordinator, International Affairs Office, Royal College of Physicians of Ireland, Dublin, Ireland)

Mr. Victor M. Mulenga (Principal, Northern Technical College, Ndola, Zambia)


Mayo General Hospital – Londiani District Hospital - KENYA

Strengthening Communications Infrastructure to Improve Partnership Efficiency in Kenya

The partnership between Mayo General Hospital and Londiani District Hospital, Londiani, Kenya, was first formalised in 2009, with the signing of an MOU between the institutions, facilitated by the NGO Friends of Londiani. In order to help facilitate the ongoing reciprocal training of clinicians between Mayo General Hospital, and Londiani District Hospital in Kenya, a Start-Up Grant has been awarded to facilitate the development of improved communications infrastructure. As a part of their ongoing activities, the partnership conducted a needs assessment and discussions between the institutions, with respect to communications. This revealed a significant need for improved systems, training, and hardware links that would enable the best levels of support and collaboration. Once in place, the new system will act as a conduit enabling monthly remote conferences to facilitate shared learning, and help serve Continuing Medical Education needs. In the coming months, the two institutions and Friends of Londiani will work closely to evaluate the effectiveness of the new systems, which will then feed into their 2016 planning.

Partnership Coordinators:

Dr. Meabh Ni Bhuinneain (Consultant Obstetrician/ Gynaecologist, Mayo General Hospital, Castlebar, Co. Mayo Ireland)

Mr. Isaac Langat (Hospital Administrator, Londiani District Hospital, Londiani, Kenya)

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Uniersity College Cork – Mzuzu University- Malawi

Enhancing the Quality of Healthcare Education in Malawi

University College Cork (UCC) along with Mzuzu University (MZUNI) staff in Malawi embarked on a joint capacity development enterprise. The overall aim is to enhance the quality of healthcare education and ultimately healthcare in Malawi with Mzuzu University. This initiative focuses on primary healthcare and public health issues all of which pose a significant public health burden to Malawi. UCC works with the Department of Nursing and Midwifery MZUNI to assist in the quality of knowledge within the faculty that will assist in the training of Health Care workers in the field. They also hope to embark in a similar exercise with the Education Department, as there is also an acute shortage of trained teachers in Malawi. Hence, it is felt that there is a lot of knowledge to share, exchanging professional information, opinions and ideas. Mzuzu University was established by an Act of Parliament in May 1997. Its stated mission is ‘to provide high quality education, training, research and complementary services to meet the technological, social and economic needs of individuals and communities’. It is proposed that the grant received from Esther Ireland will allow the recipients to undertake a site visit by MZUNI staff to UCC, Ireland by academic year end, 2016. This funding will allow Malawian counterparts to conduct a site visit to UCC to assist in their own strategic planning.

Partnership Coordinators:

Dr. Rosarii Griffin (Lecturer and Researcher, Centre for Adult Education and Office of the Vice-President for Teaching and Learning, University College Cork.)

Dr. Loveness Kaunda (Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Senior Deputy Vice- Chancellor for Academic Affairs, Mzuzu University, Luwinga, Mzuzu, Malawi.)

Dundalk IT – Kyambogo University Uganda

Establishing Nursing and Public Health Training at Kyambogo University

This project seeks to build on existing professional and institutional relationships that were developed with partners in Uganda during the DkIT led Amazzi Bulami: Water is Life research project over the period 2009 -15. Water is Life ( undertook an examination of water services provision and water infrastructure development. As a consequence, those involved in the programme identified a need to place a focus on broader health issues as enablers for future development. As academic institutions, Kyambogo University (KyU) and DkIT directly influence the quality of health service provision in both of their countries through placing a focus on health education as an agent for change to the benefit of those countries. This proposal seeks to build on the strength of the existing ties between DkIT and KyU to the benefit of nursing students and staff and ultimately to the benefit of health services. The programme ultimately seeks to embed collaborative activities within mainstream nursing programme delivery and a sharing of best practice in a manner that recognises and highlights cultural sensitivity as necessary to improving delivery of populations’ health services. A visit to DkIT by staff from KyU took place in December 2014. The overall objective was to discuss potential collaborations to establish programmes in nursing and public health training at Kyambogo University. This visit was followed up by a return visit to Uganda by DKIT personnel in the Spring 2015.

Partnership Coordinators:

Dr. Edel Healy (Head of School of Health and Science, Dundalk Institute of Technology, Dublin Road, Dundalk.)

Professor Eli Katunguka Rwakishaya (Deputy Vice- Chancellor (Academic Affairs) and Acting Vice-Chancellor, Kyambogo University, Kampala, Uganda).

University College Dublin - Uganda

Developing an Educational and Research Capacity – UCD Physiotherapy and the School of Physiotherapy in Mbarara University of Science and Technology

The purpose of project is to strengthen an existing partnership and to develop educational and research capacity between UCD Physiotherapy and the School of Physiotherapy in Mbarara University of Science and Technology, (MUST) Uganda. A secondary aim is to explore the opportunity to further develop links between UCD College of Health Sciences and the department of Medicine at MUST for interdisciplinary learning. The objectives include identifying areas of reciprocal support in health science teaching, particularly in the area of disability and rehabilitation, and to build a research partnership between UCD and MUST to strengthen the evidence base for rehabilitation in low-income settings. Furthermore, to facilitate exchange and sharing of ideas around interdisciplinary teaching and learning methodology, and to share learning and experiences in terms of models of clinical education. The Faculty of Medicine at MUST began in 1989 and has grown in terms of programmes offered and student numbers at undergraduate, post graduate and diploma levels. Their vision is to build educational and research capacity in the areas of disability and rehabilitation between University College Dublin and Mbarara University of Science and Technology. Their aim is to develop an international interdisciplinary collaborative education and research programme on disability and rehabilitation for health science students so that health professionals have an awareness of disability issues and the impact on patients, their families and communities.

Partnership Coordinators:

Dr. Cliona O’Sulllivan (Lecturer, UCD School of Public Health, Physiotherapy and Sport Science, Health Science Center, University College Dublin).

Mr Herman Kazibwe (Head of Department, Department of Physiotherapy, Mbarara University of Science and Technology).

University of Limerick and University of Limerick Hospital Group - Ghana

Promoting the Health Status of the people of the Upper West Region of Ghana

ULHG and UL are academic partners, working together on a range of initiatives and they share a common goal, to establish a partnership with health and academic institution in a developing country. The project involves marrying the resources and expertise of ULHG and UL to promote the education and training in the health care staff in eight in the upper west region of Ghana. The principle partner, the Upper West Region Health Directorate for Ghana Health Services worked with UL, ULHG and seven district hospitals and one regional hospital located in the Upper West Region of Northern Ghana. Secondary partnership for UL and ULHG, will be with the University of Health and Allied Science (UHAS) and Tamale Teaching Hospital. The main vision for the project is to promote the health status of people in the Upper West Region of Ghana through the enhanced education and training of staff in the district hospitals. This will involve the development of educational programmes.

Partnership Coordinators: 

Prof. Paul Finucane (Chief Academic Officer, UL Hospitals Group and Emeritus Professor, University of Limerick).

SDUI Ireland and Sudan

Developing and Improving the Medical Practices in Sudan

The SDUI is registered as a non-profit organization in Ireland since 2010 and has been representing Sudanese doctors in Ireland since. Among its main mandates, the SDUI aims to foster the development of health services and medical education in Sudan. The SDUI is a branch of the Doctor’s Union in Sudan, and aim to develop and improve medical practice in Sudan by organizing scientific and educational events in collaboration with Irish counterparts. The Sudanese Society of Anesthesiologists is the body responsible for governing the practice and training of anesthesia in Sudan. Anesthesia is a relatively young specialty in Sudan, the SSA is very active in its efforts to improve standards of practice and improve patient outcomes. One of the most recent projects is the Sudan Lifebox Initiative (SLI). This initiative aims to reduce the perioperative morbidity and mortality in Sudan by introducing the WHO Safe Surgery checklist including the basic monitoring equipment (Lifebox pulse oximeter) and training of anesthetic staff in operating rooms and theater recovery rooms. The second project is the Sudan Pediatric Intensive Care Scheme (SPICS).Pediatric intensive care medicine is in its infancy in Sudan, but a field where there is continuous growing need.

Partnership Coordinators: 

Dr. Azza Kibeida (Treasurer, SDUI, Department of Anesthesia, Cork University Hospital, Wilton, Cork)

Prof. Ahmed Alsafi (Chairman of Sudan Society of Anesthesiologists , Sudan Society of Anesthesiologists, Khartoum, Sudan).

Wexford GP Surgery - Malawi

Identifying Priority Areas of Need in Non-Communicable Diseases

Palms GP surgery located in Co Wexford have seven doctors and five practice nurses. Working with the Dept. of Medicine in Mzuzu Central Hospital, they have identified non-communicable diseases as a major phenomenon in healthcare in Malawi posing major problems due to the large numbers, distances to healthcare and need to re-orientate the health system from an acute care model to one focused on chronic care. Mzuzu Central Hospital is the referral hospital in Northern Malawi, and is the main hospital to provide care for non-communicable diseases in the region. For the local Mzuzu population it serves as a primary care facility for non-communicable diseases as community health workers do not undertake this function to date. Working with Dr John Chipolomwe (head of department) type 2 diabetes and training staff on assessment of patients with diabetes is the main focus. Through this project, Palms GP surgery and Mzuzu General Hospital hopes to identify priority areas of need in non-communicable diseases, formalise the partnership with the Dept of Medicine in Mzuzu Central Hospital and also seek to determine how they can best work with our other colleagues in Malawi in Ungweru and Luke International Norway to expand the partnership.

Partnership Coordinators: 

Dr. Joe Gallagher (Partner at the Palms GP Surgery, The Avenue, Gorey, Wexford).

Dr. John Chipolomwe (Head of Department, the Department of Medicine, Mzuzu Central Hospital, Malawi).