A delegation from George Eliot Hospital and public sector trade union, Unison will visit Nicaragua next week to plan a twinning agreement with a Nicaraguan Hospital.
The group aim to sign the twinning agreement, the first of its kind in the UK, between George Eliot Hospital and Nilda Patricia Hospital in Cuidad-Sandino, Managua.
During the visit, between 15 -23 February 2015, the delegation will be meeting with the Nicaraguan health union FETSALUD to discuss health education and preventative medicine as well to sign the twinning agreement.
The aim of the agreement is to promote co-operation and understanding of partnership working and will provide an opportunity for a mutual exchange of advice and expertise to better overcome the challenges faced by both partners.
The delegation will comprise UNISON Deputy Convenor at George Eliot Hospital, Roy Emblen, Consultant Paediatrician, Dr Sebastian Yuen and International Officer, UNISON, Solihull Branch, Mark Glover.
This ground breaking programme will include visits to maternity centres, women's hospitals, children's hospitals and rural and urban health centres.
Although Nicaragua remains the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere after Haiti, Nicaraguans enjoy free health care and have benefitted from advances made in the fields of health and education over the last few years. Maternal mortality and malnutrition rates have been reduced by up to 50% and the delegation will be able to witness the work being undertaken to improve health education and promote preventative medicine.
A return visit to the UK from FETSALUD is planned for April this year. The delegation is being co-sponsored by the George Eliot Hospital NHS Trust and UNISON, with support from the Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign Action Group.
UNISON, Branch Secretary at George Eliot Hospital, Dawn Downes said: "The project and the twinning agreement is not just a symbolic gesture. It will hopefully recognise the support our teams and organisations can give to our Nicaraguan partners.
"The visit will also provide us with an insight into the Nicaraguan health system and will hope to learn from their recent improvements and ideas."
George Eliot Hospital, Consultant Paediatrician, Dr Sebastian Yuen said" I’m looking forward to learning from frontline staff and healthcare leaders about how they provide effective care on a limited budget.
"I hope this will be the start of an ongoing partnership which will bring benefits for all involved.”