African Health Leaders Return for Second Annual Global Health Leadership Institute Conference At Yale

For the second year, the Global Health Leadership Institute (GHLI) at Yale University will host senior health leaders from four African nations in a collaborative effort to find solutions to pressing health problems. The conference, “Building Leadership for Health,” will take place June 21-25, 2010, at the Greenberg Conference Center of Yale.

At the inaugural gathering in June, 2009, GHLI hosted health leaders from countries that had accomplished exceptional health-system improvements despite limited resources. During this first meeting, delegates learned the GHLI approach to strategic problem solving and leadership and devised strategies to overcome health problems in their countries.

Building on the first conference, four delegations will return to facilitate progress on implementation plans developed last year. During the week, delegates will continue their work on a range of important health issues including reducing maternal mortality; improving the quality of clinical care and management in hospitals; improving hospital management capacity; and improving the performance of senior health workers.

“The conference is about sharing experiences across countries and providing each delegation with an approach that focuses on key strategies and plans to make progress on their priority health issue,” said Elizabeth Bradley, Ph.D., faculty director of GHLI and director of the Yale Global Health Initiative. “Our hope is that through this process, delegations will create solutions that will have a significant impact on the everyday lives of people in these countries.”

Country delegations will be comprised primarily of Ministry of Health officials, health administrators and representatives from academic institutions. Each delegation will continue work on a wide range of issues, including:

  • Ethiopia – A key health priority in Ethiopia is the development of a stronger and more efficient management structure. As a result, the Ethiopian delegation will further evaluate strategies to strengthen management throughout the health delivery system, particularly hospitals. In just one year, the Ethiopian delegation has created systems to support hospital CEOs, with a goal of improving the quality of clinical care and management.
  • Ghana – Serious human resource problems including low employee morale, poor distribution of staff and high attrition have resulted in the significant brain drain of health professionals. As a result, the Ghanaian delegation will continue its focus on systems to evaluate and improve the performance of its district health directors. Since the creation of their plan last year, performance evaluations have been conducted and guidelines are being revised.
  • Liberia – Maternal and neonatal mortality rates in Liberia are among the highest in the world. These deaths are attributed to obstetric issues including hemorrhage, infections and other complications. As part of their original plan, the Liberian delegation crafted a policy to train health workers in safe obstetric and newborn care and is implementing a community assessment tool to examine social and behavioral factors affecting pregnancy outcomes.
  • Rwanda – At the 2009 conference, the Rwandan delegation focused on an important strategic objective - how to develop sufficient numbers of skilled health workers to meet the health care delivery needs of Rwanda. In returning to Yale, the Rwandan delegation will work to identify specific strategies that will help build the capacity of the medical school and teaching hospitals to develop a sustainable pipeline of clinical and administrative leaders.

In addition to applying the Global Health Leadership Institute’s innovative curriculum focused on strategic problem solving, country delegations will learn from outside experts and recognized leaders in global health, including:

  • Dr. Tedros Adhanom, Ethiopia Minister of Health (invited);
  • Amie Batson, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Global Health, USAID;
  • Pape Gaye, President and CEO, Intrahealth International;
  • Christoph Benn, Director of External Relations for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria; and
  • Patrick Geoghegan, Chief Executive, South Essex Partnership University, NHS Foundation Trust

“The conference is a unique partnership that brings together government leaders, academics and renowned leaders in global health,” said Michael Skonieczny, Executive Director of GHLI. “Working together, our goal is to create effective strategies to address these pressing global health issues.”

The Global Health Leadership Institute at Yale University was launched in 2009 to develop the next generation of global health leaders at Yale and around the world through innovative educational and research programs. GHLI supports health leaders to improve the performance of health systems through leadership development, quality improvement programs and health systems research. The Institute is also a center for debate and progress on leadership and other critical global health issues. For more information on the GHLI and the 2010 conference, go to Michael Skonieczny, Executive Director of the Global Health Leadership Institute, can be reached at 203-436-9115.

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Helen Dodson:, 203-436-3984