From Benjamin Babine, Abuja
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the urgency to strengthen Nigeria’s health facilities and improve the quality of care delivered especially in the public health facilities which provided the first line of medical care during the pandemic.
The management of hospitals requires specific skill sets to achieve efficiency and positive health outcomes through a systematic approach. Many government-owned hospitals are not adequately managed because leadership have limited management and business training which is often lacking in the curriculum of Nigerian medical schools.
In response to this gap, PharmAccess Foundation, through its Healthcare Management Programme (HMP) which was launched in 2017 organized a lecture titled “Driving change in public institutions” on Friday, December 11, 2020. The one-day training program was facilitated by Dr Adedamola Dada, Chief Medical Director of Federal Medical Center Ebute Metta Lagos with over 40 healthcare professionals from both private and government healthcare organizations.
Dr Dada was a participant in the first cohort of the HMP, which further equipped him to be the catalyst that brought significant changes in the management of FMC Ebute Metta. The changes instituted by Dr Dada enabled the hospital to achieve Level 4 status in PharmAccess SafeCare quality improvement program, and till date remains the only public facility to achieve this status.
During the training, Dr Dada spoke on the need to drive change in public health institutions. He shared his experiences on practical steps which he instituted to transform the tertiary hospital including an initial assessment to determine areas of improvement, a digital transformation which boosted the revenues of the hospital and prevented leakages. He also discussed in detail how FMC Ebute Metta brought about change in its infrastructure, procurement administration, staff capacity development, patient management and other critical areas that led to the hospital to become more resilient, even during the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr Dada provided clear evidence of the effects of HMP program using FMC Ebute Metta as a case study and how applying the knowledge from the program transformed the public hospital.
Also speaking during the training, the Country Director of PharmAccess Foundation, Njide Ndili noted that public hospitals, primary, secondary and tertiary level inclusive can be transformed if the management and medical personnel within public hospitals are adequately trained. There are more public facilities especially at the primary care level which have been abandoned or operating at a sub-optimal level and this has to change for Nigeria to achieve Universal Health Coverage. The Government needs to invest in constant training and retraining of healthcare professionals to equip them with the skills needed to manage public hospitals. She mentioned that majority of the HMP participants in the past have been from the private sector, hence the need to develop a public sector-focused training with Enterprise Development Center (EDC).
Healthcare Management Programme (HMP) is a certificate program designed to build the capacity of healthcare professionals in the key areas of quality, business, finance, operations, patient-centred care and inventory management. The HMP is designed to address the business capacity gap that currently exists among Healthcare professionals in Nigeria. The programme has been designed with a robust curriculum and delivered by seasoned world-class faculty through a blended approach consisting of online and offline classes. The program is designed to assist Healthcare professionals in building their capacity to better manage their business.
The 4th and 5th cohorts of the HMP will be graduating in March 2021 and the 6th cohort will be commencing in March 2021. The 5-month training programme is a blend of presentations, case studies, activities, role-plays and lectures. Relevant case studies in the health sector are used to help contextualize the peculiarities of the sector. Subsequently, the participants receive tailored coaching and advisory from experienced healthcare professionals who help them develop solutions to challenges within their healthcare institutions. Since its inception, a total of 118 healthcare professionals have been trained in 5 cohorts of the HMP. In addition to all the other interventions of PharmAccess in Nigeria, the HMP is another expression of its passion to ensure that every Nigerian has access to quality healthcare services.