Contribution to international development report: 2017-2018

First ever Contribution to International Development Report takes a holistic look at a wide cross-section of Scottish Government international development activity, and presents it within the context of the UN Global Goals.

Chapter Nine - Global Citizenship in NHSScotland

9.1. Introduction

In 2017, the Chief Medical Officer launched the Report "Global Citizenship in the Scottish Health Service" produced by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow ( RCPSG) in response to a commission from the Scottish Global Health Collaborative ( SGHC).

The Report contains eight recommendations, describing how NHSScotland engagement in global health can be enhanced in a way that maximises the reciprocal benefits of global health work and recognises the realities of "home" service pressures. The Report included evidence that this valuable work not only helps to reduce common challenges such as disease epidemics but also provides mutual learning opportunities bringing proven benefits for our NHS staff and healthcare system through a refreshed and reinvigorated workforce.

Scottish Government Ministers for International Development and for Mental Health jointly welcomed the RCPSG Report and we committed to working closely with partners across NHSScotland to implement the Recommendations including piloting a Scottish Global Health Co-ordination Unit.

9.2 NHSScotland Global Citizenship Programme


NHSScotland Global Citizenship Programme

Infographic text:

3 Good Health and Well-being
17 Partnerships for the Goal

Figure 9.1. NHSScotland and UN Global Goals advanced by NHS Global Citizenship Programme (although our initial mapping work evidences that our Global Health work will work towards achieving a wider range of Global Goals).

9.2.1. Background

In NHSScotland, staff from across all work groups already make a significant personal and professional contribution to global health work in low and middle income countries. Traditionally it has been considered through the lens of staff going on overseas placements. However, staff from across the NHS contribute in multiple different and innovative ways. Including:

  • mentoring healthcare staff from low and middle income countries who come to work in Scotland in order to observe or develop new skills and learning;
  • providing remote support including virtual learning networks, coaching and mentoring using a wide range of technology from Scotland to staff in a low and middle-income countries; and
  • supporting healthcare system development in low and middle-income countries with skills such as project management, financial management, and quality improvement.

These partnerships have proved to be most effective when they have been developed collaboratively and use good practice principles for partnership working.

9.2.2. The Project

The NHSScotland Global Citizenship Programme's key aims are to reflect and support the Scottish Government's existing international development commitments to our partner countries, as set out, and in alignment with, our International Development Strategy, in particular our commitment to support capacity strengthening in those countries in the area of health; and make it easier for all NHS staff to participate in global citizenship both here in Scotland and abroad by ensuring better guidance, co-ordination and support.

This Scottish Government, led global health work - and in particular the development of the NHSScotland Global Citizenship Programme - is a key example of the Beyond Aid agenda - where we continue to work across Ministerial portfolios to support international aims and identify other policies which can contribute positively to development outcomes.

Figure 9.2. Physiotherapist Gillian Calder supports a burns prevention and care partnership in Malawi

Figure 9.2. Physiotherapist Gillian Calder supports a burns prevention and care partnership in Malawi

9.2.3. Contribution to Development 2017-2018

The Programme, still in its early stages, has already had a number of early successes including: the establishment of the Scottish Global Health Co-ordination Unit which will have a facilitating role in the co-ordination of health partnership work in NHSScotland, including helping to identify opportunities, volunteers and gathering best practice, intelligence and information. (, an NHSScotland Global Citizenship Champions Network with NHS staff actively involved in global health work has also been established, and a People Register set up, with NHS staff with a range of skills and expertise in clinical and non-clinical areas signed up to get involved in global health work going forward.

Work is also underway to baseline and better understand the current NHSScotland global health contribution including mapping current health partnerships, international medical training fellowships and medical electives. This work is being aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Ultimately the programme will implement:

  • A programme of activities, projects and initiatives that are needs-led and developed collaboratively using agreed partnership working principles.
  • The Scottish Global Health Co-ordination Unit as the portal through which our partner countries notify of their needs from Scotland, with Scotland then responding by sharing its expertise with those countries.
  • Access for all staff and NHS Boards to support and guidance on global citizenship and health partnership opportunities.
  • A framework for Global Citizenship that can be shared with and extended to other sectors as required.
  • Partnerships between NHS Boards and a region, hospital or healthcare provider in either Malawi, Zambia, Rwanda or Pakistan.

9.2.4. Dr Lalick Banda's Story

The NHS Borders, Scotland have twinned with St Francis Hospital in Zambia and has been involved with projects in Maternity, Paediatrics, Physiotherapy, HIV, Sexual Health, Pharmacy, Public Health, Opthalmology, Radiology and TB control, and are in the process of completing a large project to improve the water supply.

Dr Lalick Banda, the Hospital Superintendent for St Francis Hospital

Dr Lalick Banda, the Hospital Superintendent for St Francis Hospital, discusses the impact of the NHS Borders, Scotland's Water for Life project:

"…for the patients you need water to bath the patients, you need the water to clean up the wards against infections, you need the water to flush the sanitary units in the hospital and all that. The pipes which were laid at St Francis coming from the boreholes were very old, they were metallic old pipes, which over the years have rusted and when they rusted they developed, they started leaking actually and we have leaking a lot of water through the leaks so the Water for Life project came at the right time, I can just imagine this time, if this project was not there what could have been happening to this institution…" (Dr Lalick Banda, 2018)


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