Academic communities are increasingly involved in efforts to address the overwhelming burden of disease in low-middle income countries. There is, however, little research dedicated to understanding the best approach to creating a successful and sustainable global healthcare project. Our objective was to review the shared characteristics of successful healthcare partnerships between high- and low-middle income countries. Two independent reviewers conducted a systematic review. Articles, describing collaborative, healthcare partnerships between a high- and low-middle income countries between 1910 and September 2018, were included. Twenty-six articles were included. The majority of collaborations were initiated by either the host institution or as a joint decision between institutions. The primary goal of these collaborations revolved around medical education/training and curriculum development. Two partnerships, after more than a decade of collaboration, had achieved a self-sustaining programme. Lack of funding was identified as a major barrier to sustainability. Successful global healthcare partnerships require true collaboration and equal participation of all partners. Funding should be secured prior to programme development in anticipation of a minimum 10-year project. A minimum list of guidelines has been proposed to improve the chances of both a successful and sustainable collaboration.
Keywords: Healthcare partnership; academic collaboration; global health; sustainable partnership.