As part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), UN members have committed to achieving Universal Health Coverage by 2030. How will African countries reach this goal? Johnson & Johnson’s Management Development Institute (MDI) believes that by providing health workers with the management and leadership skills and tools, the efficiency and effectiveness with which scarce resources are used will improve thus strengthening overall health systems.
The MDI for East African healthcare professionals took place August 5-11, 2018 in Nairobi, Kenya. The training is delivered by Amref Health Africa using professors from GBSN member schools including the Chandaria School of Business at USIU-A, Strathmore Business School and GIMPA.
39 healthcare professionals from 7 countries improved their management and leadership skills while producing 14 Community Health Improvement Projects.
Prof. Charles Mayaka, MDI Faculty, kicked off MDI with 3 slogans:
- It is possible.
- Everyday is an opportunity.
- Everyone is an opportunity.
Africa’s health challenges cannot be solved by thinking inside the box. MDI changes mindsets about what can be possible in the health sector and how to go about problem solving. These professionals face many challenges in their day-to-day jobs, and by creating a positive learning environment, they open their minds to a new way of thinking and are encouraged to take advantage of every opportunity that comes their way.
During the graduation ceremony, Dr. Ademola Olajide, Representative, United Nations Population Fund motivated participants to continue their leadership journey. He inspired the participants to solve Africa’s health problems by thinking beyond “outside of the box.” Health workers need to be chameleons who adapt to their environments, particularly when meeting with policy makers. They need to learn to speak the language of politicians in order to work across silos. Additionally, he challenged the participants to not just become healthcare leaders – but to become political leaders in order to create greater change in the health systems.
Lastly, Dr. Franco Inshallah, a MDI participant from Uganda, shared his experience and reflections,
“MDI materials are practical to the day-to-day operations of health organizations. The challenge now lies with the people trained by the program to go back and make a difference.”
He also made an astute observation regarding how to address Africa’s health challenges. He was approached by Google to explore how AI could be implemented to make health improvements in Africa. African health institutions are struggling with the most basic forms of information systems and he questioned whether Africa needs the most advanced technology right now. He believes funders and corporates need to shift their focus to not what they want to implement but rather to what is really needed in Africa to solve the most basic problems. Universal Health Coverage is the goal, but it needs to be regionally relevant to the needs on the ground.
By Stephanie Blochinger
Stephanie is the Program Officer at the Global Business School Network. She manages the program coordination and administration of all six MDI trainings.