HSE signs collaboration agreement with Federal Ministry for Health, Sudan

The HSE yesterday (Wednesday, 15th November 2017) signed a partnership agreement with the Federal Ministry for Health in Sudan further enhancing collaboration regarding health services between Ireland and Sudan.

The agreement was signed by Tony O’Brien, Director General of the HSE and Dr. Isameldin Mohammed Abdalla, Under-Secretary, Sudan’s Federal Ministry of Health on behalf of the two governments.

The agreement builds on a long standing relationship between the countries in the area of healthcare. The formalising of the partnership results from a process over several years to consolidate and institutionalise this relationship, align efforts, mobilise resources, and build momentum towards better health services and health outcomes.

The agreement will facilitate a range of initiatives between the countries in education and training of health professionals, in research, and in improving the quality and safety of health care.  It will also seek to maximise the benefits of migration of Sudanese medical graduates working in Ireland, and Sudanese doctors will be key players in the collaboration.

The objectives of the agreement are to:

  • Improve quality and safety of health care in Sudan and in Ireland
  • Maximise benefits from health workforce mobility in supporting health systems in both countries and promote the rights, welfare and development of individual health workers
  • Build capacity in health care, education, training and research through institutional partnerships and exchanges
  • Strengthen medical, nursing & midwifery and allied health professional education and training
  • Facilitate effective involvement of the Sudanese medical diaspora in Ireland to support their own country health system, including education and training.

Welcoming the agreement Tony O’Brien, HSE Director General said: “I am delighted to sign this agreement today on behalf of the Irish government, which will be beneficial to both countries. The relationship between Sudan and Ireland, especially in health-related matters, dates back several decades and this agreement will strengthen that relationship further.”

The agreement was also welcomed by Dr. Isameldin Mohammed Abdalla, Under-Secretary of Sudan’s Federal Ministry of Health who said: “This agreement will assist Sudan in building the capacity of its health workforce and in improving the quality and safety of health care for our patients, their families and the wider population.”

A number of successful collaborations already exist between Ireland and Sudan in different health related areas, including an active diaspora engagement programme through efforts of Sudanese physicians and health professionals in Ireland supported by different Irish entities.

Since the early 1960’s Sudanese doctors have come to train in Ireland, especially surgeons and physicians.  The Republic of Ireland has become a major destination for Sudanese doctors and the number of Sudanese doctors registered in Ireland has increased ten-fold from 64 in the year 2000 to 403 in 2010 and 679 in 2015.

The WHO Global Code of Practice on the International Recruitment of Health Personnel provides a framework for ethical recruitment and social accountability.  Ireland has committed to implementation of the Code and one response is the International Medical Graduate Training Initiative, by which international graduates receive training in Ireland and then return to practice in their home countries.  In 2017, Sudan became just the second country to enter into an agreement to participate in the Initiative.

During the 1980s and 1990s many Irish health doctors and nurses worked in Sudan and brought back into our health service their experiences and principles of primary health care and essential community medicine. This collaboration can be seen as a further advance in solidarity between health workers around the world.

The collaboration with Sudan will be facilitated by the HSE Global Health Programme.  For more information contact: globalhealth@hse.ie