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As part of Geneva's humanitarian tradition, the HUG are committed to sharing the extensive expertise of their staff. These activities are a key aspect of their strategic plan.
Geneva University Hospitals are WHO collaborating centers in five disciplines: therapeutic patient education in chronic diseases; vaccinology; research and training in mental health; patient safety and infection control, as well as telemedicine and eHealth. WHO collaborating centers are institutions or universities appointed by the Director-General of the WHO to carry out support activities for the Organisation's programmes.
For over 20 years, the HUG have been investing in projects for cooperation and transfer of expertise, with the following objectives:
The HUG are quick to take action during disasters and acute crises, in the framework of agreements with the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, the ICRC and Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). The HUG provides medical management of emergency humanitarian aid for the SDC.
Employees are made available for support missions providing medical assistance to victims of humanitarian emergencies and conflicts. Under agreements with the foundations Terre des Hommes and Sentinelles, the HUG welcome patients from southern countries who need highly specialized care.
The HUG prioritise projects that involve the transfer of expertise, in order to develop local medical and nursing skills.
Funding for these projects is achieved in particular by means of an equalisation fund, made up of contributions taken from the fees of HUG doctors for their private healthcare activity.
Each year, HUG employees leave on humanitarian projects. In 2015 alone, 71 employees took part in 55 missions, totaling 1021 days. Among them, four employees left for long-term assignments with the ICRC and seven with MSF.
Ebola : A joint project with the SDC and MSF was carried out in Liberia and Sierra Leone. The goal was to help identify priority areas for action to stem the spread of the epidemic through treatment and prevention, and to strengthen health services in the countries concerned. In parallel, the HUG developed a skills center in Geneva. They collaborated with EPFL on the production of protective clothing for health workers in Africa, and participated in the validation of a vaccine against the virus led by the WHO.
Acute bacterial meningitis in Cameroon : The HUG contributed to the establishment of a surveillance and vaccination network for meningitis in Cameroon to reduce the number of cases and child morbidity, and to train medical and laboratory staff.
North-South dialogue in Geneva : Every two years, the HUG organise the Geneva Health Forum (GHF), in collaboration with the University of Geneva. Created to encourage dialogue between practitioners, scientists and politicians, the conference brings together nearly 1000 participants from around the globe to discuss innovative solutions for improving access to treatments and healthcare.
RAFT : for over 10 years, the Réseau en Afrique Francophone pour la Télémédecine (RAFT) project has been connecting isolated or bush hospitals with medical experts in cities, who consult remotely for difficult cases or continuous training. RAFT, launched by the HUG, promotes south-south interactions rather than north-south. Thousands of participants across as many as twenty countries connect to it every week.