Leadership is key to achieving success in all sectors including healthcare, therefore building leadership potential and capacity for leaders in Healthcare is key to any transformative agenda. This was the premise for the just concluded Leadership in Management training, an initiative of the Lagos State Government in collaboration with the Healthcare Leadership Academy (HLA) and Health Strategy and Delivery Foundation (HSDF). The two-day event was a bespoke management training held for the Medical Directors of the 26 General Hospitals in Lagos State on the 15th and 16th of September at Regency Suites in Ikeja in Lagos and was opened by the honourable Commissioner of health for Lagos state, Dr Jide Idris. A step forward in the government’s healthcare reform agenda, the workshop was aimed at building the leadership capacities of the Medical Directors to address the complexities of a fast-evolving health care system to ensure a focus on patient centred care and world-class service delivery standards across their health facilities.
Dr Idris stated there had been improvements and significant upgrades to the Health System in Lagos under his leadership through a comprehensive health reform agenda. He highlighted some of the specific achievements including strong policy direction for health development and the facilitation of relevant regulatory frameworks. Addressing the big picture, he indicated that the goal of these reforms was to improve the quality of care and to ensure that healthcare delivery in Lagos State is centred on the patient. Furthermore, these steps in regulatory policies and leadership development were to prepare the healthcare system for the successful implementation of the proposed health insurance scheme for the State. This necessitated the training to build the leadership and management capacities of the Medical Directors of the General Hospitals in Lagos.
The training event was designed and facilitated by the Healthcare Leadership Academy(HLA) and its partner organisation, Health Strategy and Delivery Foundation (HSDF). HSDF also supports the Lagos State Ministry of Health in various capacities, one of which includes institutionalisation of Performance Management (to enable the state to make evidence-based decisions). HSDF is also working with Lagos state on the malaria surveillance program and is engaging private facilities by building networks and strengthening alliances that can aid in shared learning and peer support. Its Quality Improvement unit has also been actively engaged in working closely with government hospitals to improve the quality and delivery of care in a bid to improve maternal and neonatal health.
The Health Care Leadership Academy’s (HLA) Executive Lead Dr Hala Daggash, commented on the role of the HLA in building accountable and capable leaders to steward the Nigerian healthcare system towards global best practice and patient centred care. She stated that the goal and mission of the HLA was to empower healthcare professionals with the requisite skills to address context-specific health system challenges. Working alongside the government and HSDF, its role was to build the capacity of the healthcare leaders and front-line workers in Lagos State. The HLA is currently working with the public sector in 7 other states of Nigeria and across more states with private sector health organisations.
Further iterating the importance of such activities, the Commissioner acknowledged that although most Medical doctors are not trained to be managers, the need for basic managerial and leadership skills are imperative as the health system continues to evolve and become more complex. In his words “because the system is quite complex, the leaders must find a way to address these complexities to ensure patients receive the best care.” He stated that the training program for the Managing Directors of these General Hospitals in Lagos state has created an opportunity to enhance their capabilities to lead in an evolving health care delivery environment. He acknowledged the collaborative relationship between the State, HSDF and HLA and its importance for sustainable development and improvement of the health system in Lagos. Ultimately the program is expected to benefit Lagosians through improved service delivery and better patient centred care.
The training was facilitated by recognised Human Resource and Leadership experts including Habiba Balogun, Adeboye Martins and Nneka Mobisson. The program ended with the Medical Directors utilising the tools and methods from the training to develop immediate and longer-term goals and plans for their facilities.