Co-authored by MDI Regional Directors: Graduate Business School at the University of Cape Town, Amref Health Africa and Ghana Institute of Public Management & Administration (GIMPA)
The old adage “prevention is better than cure” has never before been more pertinent on the African continent. The determinants of better health outcomes require that healthcare managers take a holistic approach in tackling chronic and communicable diseases, high infant and maternal mortality and preventable deaths.
The multifaceted and complex challenges to healthcare systems in Africa are interwoven with socio-economic and political issues. With a growing population, there is an increasing demand for generating better outcomes with fewer resources, notwithstanding the financial support from the global community. Further, the economic disparities between rural and urban communities exacerbate healthcare challenges across the continent, including a shortage of skilled healthcare workers, insufficient physical infrastructure, and inefficiencies with the supply chain and the procurement of basic medicines and supplies.
The challenges in the African healthcare landscape require a cadre of health care managers who are able to:
- Articulate their vision and mission with a sense of urgency that galvanizes support from multiple stakeholders
- Develop an in-depth understanding of patient needs in collaboration with communities around them
- Integrate service delivery processes to do more with fewer resources
- Use their skills and experience for peer-mentoring and effective management of frontline health workers
- Develop outcome-focused approaches for planning and monitoring the performance of health Improvement activities
- Increase capacity for data collection, disease surveillance, health promotion, diagnostic support, disaster response, and remote patient monitoring through modern health technologies.
The Management Development Institute (MDI) empowers Ministry of Health (MoH) managers to navigate and respond to the challenges of Africa’s dynamic health systems. In the face of a growing deficit of health care workers that is estimated to hit 12.9 million by 2035, the MDI program is making powerful changes in the way health care leaders in Africa resolve pressing issues, facilitate change and share knowledge to improve health systems.
MDI includes two key components: a curriculum based classroom experience and a strong emphasis on the practical application of skills to real challenges in healthcare service delivery. The MDI program is designed to equip participants with practical ways of applying classroom learnings to a Community Health Improvement Project (CHIP) of their choice. By involving line managers of the participants in the process of selecting relevant CHIP projects and including peers in the implementation of the CHIP, the MDI inculcates a sense of ownership and accountability within the Ministries of Health.
Through the MDI program, participants gain skills in areas such as organizational planning, operations management, health economics, monitoring & evaluation and social marketing. Participants then use these skills to manage, lead and strengthen the capacity of health care workers through practical experience that translates a vision into action, and action into results. In 2015, MDI recognizes more than 900 alumni who have worked to ripen visions into fruitful results and enhance health systems in Africa over the past decade.