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Irish Aid and HSE agree to cooperate on improving health in the developing world

Minister of State for Overseas Development, Mr Peter Power, T.D., and Health Service Executive CEO, Professor Brendan Drumm, today signed an agreement to improve the health of communities in the developing world by increasing cooperation between the two organisations.

The Memorandum of Understanding commits both organisations to strengthening Ireland’s overall contribution to health in the developing world by sharing expertise and promoting international best practice in support to developing countries.

The agreement builds on existing links between the two organisations, which have involved the HSE providing expertise and technical advice to Irish Aid on health policy and proposals while Irish Aid has provided funding to Irish health institutions which are working with their counterparts in the developing world.

Speaking at the signing today, Minister of State for Overseas Development, Peter Power said:

“Irish Aid is committed to improving the health of the world’s poorest people and ending the tragedy whereby millions of mothers and young children die needlessly every year. We support health programmes in countries including Ethiopia, Tanzania, Malawi and Mozambique and are strongly committed to tackling the scourge of HIV and AIDS.

“The agreement signed today will allow some of Ireland’s most committed and experienced health practitioners to assist Irish Aid in addressing the many challenges facing communities in the developing world. Being able to call on their expertise - as appropriate and needed - will greatly enhance Ireland’s overall contribution to improving the health of the world’s most vulnerable communities.

“Almost nine million children in the developing world lose their life each year, mainly due to preventable illness. More than 400,000 women die each year during childbirth. This is clearly unacceptably high and will remain so unless we urgently increase access to safe maternal services.

“I am delighted that the HSE will make some of their experts available to Irish Aid as requested by us to assist us in tackling these challenges. Meanwhile, Irish Aid will assist the HSE by promoting best international practice in the HSE’s initiatives to support developing countries. I have no doubt that our combined efforts will be greater than the sum of their parts. ”

HSE chief executive, Professor Brendan Drumm said: “Ireland’s commitment to people in developing countries is well-regarded around the world. Many of our health professionals have in fact worked in developing countries. They have made valuable contributions and have been enriched professionally and personally by the experience. This latest development enables us to build on this work by assisting Irish Aid directly and facilitating staff to work in aid projects.”

Notes to the editor

  • Irish Aid is the Government’s programme for overseas development. It is a division of the Department of Foreign Affairs. For further information see
  • For information on Irish Aid, please contact Fionnuala Quinlan, Press Officer, Irish Aid, the Department of Foreign Affairs, on 01 4082653
  • For information on the HSE, contact Mary Gleeson, HSE on 01 6352836, e:
  • The MoU signed today sets out key areas for collaboration:
  • Contribute expertise to Irish Aid.
  • Irish Aid, the Government’s programme for overseas development, will identify priority areas in health policy and programmes. The HSE will provide suitable health experts to assist Irish Aid in these areas as requested and subject to capacity.
  • Strengthen the HSE’s existing links with developing countries.
  • Irish Aid will provide advice and relevant development policies and guidelines to the HSE in order to promote best development practice and enable the HSE to further develop the organisation’s role in assisting in global health improvements.
  • Facilitate staff to volunteer for overseas work.
  • HSE staff may undertake short or long-term assignments overseas through established HR mechanisms. Health personnel will be facilitated to contribute in humanitarian emergencies through Irish Aid’s Rapid Response Corps.
  • The MoU builds on an existing relationship between Irish Aid and the HSE. Experienced HSE staff  have supported Irish Aid in health policy development, technical advice and project appraisal in the past. Irish Aid has provided funding to Irish health institutions partnering with institutions in the developing world. Examples include: Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin (Vietnam) and Cork University Hospital (Sudan).