October 3, 2011

Revisitng Work in Ethiopia

Erika Linnander, associate director, Yale Global Health Leadership Institute

Each time I visit Ethiopia, I witness the growth and deepening impact of GHLI programs. Recently, I visited Addis Ababa University (AAU) to teach health economics to the first group of students in the Master’s of Healthcare Administration (MHA) program at AAU. The passion and drive of the students in the MHA program is inspiring. One student shared that he travels three days to get from his hospital to the university for class, a sacrifice he said he is willing to make because he has seen how what he learns in class directly applies to making improvements for the patients at his hospital. Despite the student’s challenges of balancing the demands of full-time school with running a hospital in a limited resource setting, they all demonstrated a positive attitude and interest in what they were learning.

The students are preparing to start their capstone projects – culminating experiences that will test their ability to apply their training to a real world challenge in hospital management. The Ministry of Health, has recently endorsed a set of 36 key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure hospital performance over time. Together, these indicators are designed to serve as a sort of “balance scorecard” – a tool we use in the U.S. to assess organizational performance from multiple, balanced perspectives. The students will lead efforts to measure the KPIs in their own health care facility.

When GHLI began the Ethiopian Hospital Management Initiative (EHMI) seven years ago, we worked with 16 hospitals to help find ways to improve their management systems and organizational structures, with an emphasis on a strong mentoring model for capacity building. Since then, thanks to the continued support from the Ministry of Health and from great partners like the Clinton Health Access Inititative, we have seen vast improvements in the management of hospitals across Ethiopia. The next step in the evolution of EHMI is to develop a quality alliance to promote networking and the sharing of best practices among the emerging critical mass of health care executives to eventually create a health system that offers efficient, high quality care for patients across the country.

Being able to see such positive progress on our work with each visit inspires me and the GHLI team to continue with our endeavors, supporting the Ministry of Health in fulfillment of their vision.

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