leadership

Dr. Jonathan Quick, President and CEO of MSH, tours with Dr. Christian Nzitimira, director of Kibagabaga Hospital in Rwanda. {Photo credit: Jon Jay/MSH.}Photo credit: Jon Jay/MSH.

In a postoperative ward of Kibagabaga Hospital, the district hospital serving Rwanda’s capital city of Kigali, Eric Bizimana sits up in bed. Bizimana, 25, had sought care after severe pain in his right leg forced him to stop work as a barber. He was diagnosed with a bone infection called osteomyelitis. Antibiotics alone couldn’t clear the infection. Without an operation to remove the diseased bone, Eric faced the possibility of losing his leg.

Eric was one of the 40 patients who enter Kibagabaga for surgery every day. In Rwanda’s tiered healthcare delivery system, patients are referred from local health centers up to the district hospital when their conditions require more complex care. Most babies are delivered at health centers, for example, but a woman suffering complications or who was expected to need a C-section would be referred to the district level.

Grace Tsawe owns a prayer camp in Ghana's Lower Manya Krobo District. She recovered from TB, and uses her experience to encourage others to be tested and treated medically for TB. {Photo credit: B. Adusei/MSH.}Photo credit: B. Adusei/MSH.

Tuberculosis (TB) control in Ghana is challenging: detection of TB cases is low, and TB mortality rates high. In many communities, like Lower Manya Krobo District, these challenges are compounded by the popular belief that TB is a spiritual disease. Many Ghanaians who contract TB seek healing in prayer camps and shrines, rather than going to health facilities for testing and treatment. By the time these patients seek medical care, it often is too late to recover and avert death.

Lower Manya Krobo District has over 93,000 residents, and a high incidence of TB (209 cases per 100,000 people in 2011). The district is also home to many of the nation’s mushrooming prayer camps, where local healers provide daily services for ill residents. There are 50 prayer camps in Lower Manya Krobo District---and only 18 health facilities.

Grace Tsawe owns a prayer camp in this district, and she usually sees over 100 patients on her main clinic day.

Celia Tusiime Kakande. {Photo: Tadeo Atuhura/MSH.}Photo: Tadeo Atuhura/MSH.

For most of my life, women in Uganda---as in most countries---were treated as inferior to men. Girls were less likely to be educated than their brothers, and had little control over the direction of their lives. Many girls grew up being told how to act, eat, and talk; many women were regarded as little more than domestic caregivers. However, in 1986 the ruling government radically changed the dynamics of Ugandan women in global development and their participation in decision-making at all levels of government. This International Women’s Day we, in Uganda, are celebrating this transformation with a theme of “connecting girls, inspiring futures,” and wishing women around the world similar progress and success.

Women Lead: Government

Women in Uganda now hold more leadership positions than ever before—35 percent of the seats in Parliament are now occupied by women, and our Speaker of Parliament and Minister of Health are women. The introduction of universal primary education has allowed more girls to begin their schooling, and affirmative action at the university level has provided more women the opportunity to realize their dreams for fulfilling professional careers.

Celia Tusiime Kakande. {Photo: Tadeo Atuhura/MSH.}Photo: Tadeo Atuhura/MSH.

For most of my life, women in Uganda---as in most countries---were treated as inferior to men. Girls were less likely to be educated than their brothers, and had little control over the direction of their lives. Many girls grew up being told how to act, eat, and talk; many women were regarded as little more than domestic caregivers. However, in 1986 the ruling government radically changed the dynamics of Ugandan women in global development and their participation in decision-making at all levels of government. This International Women’s Day we, in Uganda, are celebrating this transformation with a theme of “connecting girls, inspiring futures,” and wishing women around the world similar progress and success.

Women Lead: Government

Women in Uganda now hold more leadership positions than ever before—35 percent of the seats in Parliament are now occupied by women, and our Speaker of Parliament and Minister of Health are women. The introduction of universal primary education has allowed more girls to begin their schooling, and affirmative action at the university level has provided more women the opportunity to realize their dreams for fulfilling professional careers.

Integrating the Leadership Development Program into Guyana's national nursing school training (watch video): Guyana HIV/AIDS Reduction and Prevention, phase two (GHARP II), a PEPFAR-funded and USAID-supported project.

Developing Strong Health Leaders Saves Lives, the newest edition of MSH's Global Health Impact e-newsletter (subscribe), features:

Mary Ngari, Permanent Secretary of Kenya’s Ministry of Medical Services, addresses conference attendees on the first day. {Photo credit: MSH.}Photo credit: MSH.

In my 35 years working in international health, I've attended hundreds of conferences. Conferences are opportunities to exchange ideas and form connections. They’re often fascinating. But once in a while a conference itself can be a pivotal moment. A great example was last year’s International AIDS Conference, the first held in the United States after President Obama finally lifted the longstanding travel ban against foreigners living with HIV.

And recently, people around MSH, and throughout the Kenya health community, have been talking about Kenya’s First National Conference on Health Leadership, Management and Governance. The conference, held in early February, demonstrated the long-term vision of the Kenyans who are running the health system. These leaders understand the value of training health systems managers to improve the quality of service delivery.

Private sector companies, like McDonald's and General Electric, have successfully been using internal universities or academies for decades. So how can programming for health service managers be better, more cost effective and more sustainable? Embed programming within special “Leadership Academies” based in ministries of health.

The Improving Performance of Nurses (IPN) project in Upper Egypt celebrated the first Arabic publication of Management Sciences for Health's (MSH)'s “Managers Who Lead” handbook with an event last November. A delegation of prominent leaders from Egypt’s health sector---including representatives from the Ministry of Health and Population (MOHP), Egyptian universities and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), MSH, and USAID---attended the event in Cairo.

At the event, there was a feeling of hope for the future of the health sector in Egypt, and that this handbook is a small but important part of that future. Dr. Emad Ezat, director of health and nurses sector at MOHP, praised the book for helping to strengthen the performance of health organizations and improving health services. Dr. Abdo Al Swasy, IPN program manager, spoke of the work that had gone into the handbook and its importance. Dr. Gihan Fathy, IPN field manager, highlighted some of the tangible effects from the use of this book in the field, including building nurse leaders able to make decisions independently for positive changes in the health community.

Conference attendees were still full of energy on the final day of Kenya’s First National Conference on Health Leadership, Management and Governance. {Photo credit: MSH.}Photo credit: MSH.

After a very busy week scurrying around behind the scenes at Kenya’s First National Conference on Health Leadership, Management and Governance, the staff of the USAID-funded Leadership, Management and Sustainability project in Kenya (LMS/Kenya) gathered on Friday morning before the start of the fourth and final day. Generally, the last day of a conference is filled with summaries and closing-day formalities. But this time, Project Director Karen Caldwell informed us that we still had one essential task ahead. Our challenge was to assist the more than 250 participants to articulate, with a common voice, a clear and actionable “Way Forward” based on all of the rich and complex discussions of the many sessions, skills-building workshops, and networking meetings that had occurred during the past week. This is critical as Kenya is transitioning to a new health sector governance structure that will give responsibility for service delivery to the county-level authorities; for many conference attendees it was their first opportunity to discuss how they can shape and support this process.

Maria Francisco, USAID, with guest speakers from Ethiopia, Dr. N. Kedir Bilal, and Ghana, Dr. Elias Sory. {Photo credit: MSH.}Photo credit: MSH.

Today, in Nairobi, Kenya, we’re celebrating the opening of the First National Conference on Health Leadership, Management and Governance, a joint undertaking of the Ministry of Medical Services and the Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation with support from Management Sciences for Health through the USAID-funded Leadership, Management and Sustainability Project in Kenya (LMS/Kenya).

By coincidence, it also marks the second anniversary of my own arrival in Kenya to assume responsibilities as the communications specialist on the LMS/Kenya project. In these past two years, I've seen the “buzz” about leadership and management in the health sector grow into a virtual shout. This conference is the culmination of a steady and persistent push to strengthen health leadership and management capacity in Kenya which started long before I came here.

Pages

Printer Friendly Version
Subscribe to RSS - leadership