$3.4 Million U.S. Support Boosts Zim Health Leadership Capacity

Dr. Beth Barr
Dr. Beth Barr

A senior United States Embassy official says a U.S.-Zimbabwe partnership at the University of Zimbabwe for the last five years has laid a solid foundation for strong leadership and management systems in Zimbabwe’s health institutions.

On Thursday, members of the Health Services Board, Ministry of Health and Child Care (Provincial Medical Directors, Provincial Hospital Executives, and Principal Directors), Harare and Bulawayo City Health Departments, and PEPFAR implementing partners for the Leadership, Management and Governance Program (LMGP) and University of Zimbabwe College of Health Sciences faculty celebrated the successful implementation of a capacity building program which provided training for district and provincial health executives in the country’s provinces.

Over the past five (5) years, a total of 1,012 health workers were trained across 10 provinces
Over the past five (5) years, a total of 1,012 health workers were trained across 10 provinces

“The LMG project lived to its expectations – resuscitating and strengthening the leadership, management and governance skills of health workers in the public sector,” said Dr. Beth Barr, Country Director of the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC- Zimbabwe). Her organization, with funding support from the United States’ President Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), provided $3.4 million to support the initiative.

Over the past five (5) years, a total of 1,012 health workers were trained across 10 provinces and 59 districts including city health departments in Harare, Bulawayo, Mutare, Gweru, Masvingo, Kwekwe, Kadoma and Bindura. The program also conducted four summer school training workshops for health workers in the development community and civil society of Zimbabwe.

“CDC- Zimbabwe is exiting from active participation in this project with a great sense of fulfillment based on our modest accomplishments,” said Dr. Barr who arrived in the country in September 2015. She said U.S. commitment to supporting the health sector in Zimbabwe remained strong. “Together with USAID, CDC Zimbabwe implements an annual PEPFAR budget of $128 million; activities include direct support to sites for improving the quality and accessibility of clinical and laboratory services, epidemiological surveillance, health informatics, and quality improvement activities to support the MOHCC in its efforts to realize the UNAIDS 90-90-90 targets.”

The Leadership, Management and Governance Program started in 2010 with a $3.4 million commitment from the. It was a response to human resource training needs outlined in the Ministry of Health and Child Care’s Human Resources for Health Policy and Strategic Plan (2010-2014).

“CDC recognizes that although the trainings have been a catalyst towards stronger leadership, management and planning, the real gain is seeing the teams implement what they have learned during the trainings.  The greatest achievement is their proven record of working together and accomplishing results together,” noted Dr. Barr.

Health ministry officials hailed the five year partnership and pledged to build on the accomplishments of the last five years.

“We are happy that district health executives in all the districts were successfully provided with “Training of Trainers” skills to ensure continuity of the training of health executives at district and provincial level,” said Dr. Julita Chideme-Maradzika, the Director of the Leadership Management and Governance Program. She added that her organization was confident that the training will continue to improve performance towards quality health care provision as part of the health ministry’s national health strategy objectives. “Significant improvement of important health building blocks that inform health delivery in Zimbabwe have already been observed amongst the trained health officers,” she said.

In remarks read on her behalf, Executive Director of the Health Services Board, Ms. Ruth Kaseke said her organization, which employs the bulk of health workers in public health institutions had seen noticeable improvements in the management of health facilities in areas such as procurement, training, job enrichment and clarity of roles.  “Both district and provincial executives have been exposed to the health building blocks in the Zimbabwean health delivery system,” she said. “We have already seen an improvement in the management of service delivery and corporate governance at most institutions.

Provincial medical officers and district health executives shared their experiences about local practices that have changed since they adopted elements of the training sessions provided.

“Our procurement system has improved and this has minimized losses and duplication of activities,” said Mrs Peggy Zvavamwe. The training sessions covered effective leadership in health planning, program implementation and patient care.

CDC leverages its core strengths to advance four overarching global health goals of improving the health and well-being of people around the world as well as working to improve capabilities for preparing for and responding to infectious diseases and emerging health threats. – ZimPAS © May 20, 2016