While many clinicians, doctors and nurses, including other health professionals and long serving senior staff tend to hold leadership and management level positions across various levels of governance within the Ministry of Health and Medical Services, it takes certain skills, knowledge, attitude and behaviour to make a good leader and manager.
This has been a gap identified over the years, which has led the Ministry in 2017 to pursue the establishment of a Post Graduate Diploma in Health Leadership and Management Course at the Solomon Islands National University.
The pursuit was a success leading to the first cohort of health workers commencing their studies on the course at SINU in 2018. Last week the second group of health workers comprising of Heads of Departments and middle level managers within from the National Divisions and the Provinces including the National Referral Hospital graduated with their post graduate diploma certificate in Health Leadership and Management.
When delivering his remarks over the weekend as part of celebrating the achievement, Dr Gregory Jilini, Deputy Secretary of Health Care (DSHC) congratulated the graduates stating that their graduation marks an important step towards overall goal of building the capacity of health leaders in terms of leadership and management skills.
“ While we are very good with diagnosis and treatment of sicknesses, gap in management has always been an issue and therefore your achievement this week is also the Ministry’s as we increase our pool of qualified leaders and managers”,
“He explained that this will significantly contribute towards how we manage our resources such as finances, personals, equipment and so forth for efficient and effective delivery of health services to our people. Furthermore, having such qualified individuals manning the various positions will also contribute towards good decision making, better working environment for staff and many more of the benefits that comes along with it”, explained Dr Jilini.
He also explained that by offering the course locally it has enabled the Ministry and its partners to train more officer as opposed to sending a few overseas for the same amount of funds In addition by having the course offered at SINU it reduces disruptions to service delivery since those enrolled can work and study at the same time.
“In this way we continue to ensure that level of health services to the people is not affected by engagement of these workers in the course. Thank you to our partners, stakeholders such as WHO for funding the development of the course and tuition fees for the first two cohorts of health leaders and SINU for approving the course to be offered through the School of Nurse, Medicine and Health Sciences”, said Dr Jilini.
He concluded his remarks urging the graduates to use the skills and knowledge gained from the course to diagnose issues and problems within their various departments and work station to better improve work output and service delivery.
In their response, the graduates expressed sincere thank you for the support rendered towards them. “ Thank you to the Ministry of Health for this opportunity, WHO for funding our fees, the SINU for making the program, professor Graham Roberts for his lectures, guidance and mentorship throughout the program as well as our family members for their wonderful support”, said Dr Trina Sale, Head of the NRH Emergency Department who also graduated from the course.
She also shared how the team worked together, communicate constantly and share ideas throughout the course of the program, which has significantly contributed towards their success.
Dr Sarah Habu Hopkins, also amongst the graduates, presented some of the recommendations from the 2nd cohort under the program which includes, continuation of the program, increasing enrollment, considerations for flexibility in working hours to ensure sufficient time allocated for studies, and so forth which the team will be submitting to the MHMS Senior Executive Management for consideration.
The celebration includes display of video capturing feedback of all the individuals enrolled in the program, cutting of cake with some fine music and food.