Strong Support to Ethiopia’s Ministry of Health

In Ethiopia, a concerted effort has been made in the health sector to increase the capacity of human resources through leadership, management, and governance training. This has been done by various agencies throughout the years, and the curricula that has been used for training government health workers has not been uniform at all in terms of scope, content, and methodology. Moreover, these curricula have often been a wholesale adaptation of leadership training that is applicable in other, more developed countries and has not been successfully adapted for use in the Ethiopian health context. This has made it difficult for the Ethiopian Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH) to improve leadership, management, and governance in the health sector.

The USAID-funded Leadership, Management, and Governance Project in Ethiopia (LMG/Ethiopia), led by Management Sciences for Health, has currently made great headway in harmonizing and coordinating all training activities in leadership, management, and governance in the health sector in Ethiopia. The first step has been to bring different actors together to work on the development of a standard curriculum to make sure that leadership and management training is uniform. Fortunately, the FMOH has been able to benefit from incorporating best practices from the various agencies that have been working on increasing the capacity of the Ministry to build its leadership and management capabilities.

As an important part of this process the FMOH is taking ownership of this agenda by offering certification upon completion of the training. Since the curriculum will be based upon the realities of the Ethiopian health context, there is a greater opportunity to apply new leadership and management skills in a real-life conditions in-country.

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Although this work is very much in progress, certain milestones have been achieved. A final validation workshop on the Leadership, Management and Governance In-Service Training Modules was held by the FMOH June 11 -13, 2013 in Addis Ababa. A total of 44 participants attended from the FMOH, regional health bureaus, zonal health departments, Woreda health offices, hospitals, health centers, public and private universities, health science colleges, professional health associations, the Ethiopian Management institute, donor agencies, as well as representatives from international and local NGOs.

It was officially opened by the Director of the Human Resources Development and Administration Directorate within FMOH, Dr. Womdimagene Embiale. In his opening remark, the Director indicated that under his directorate the ministry is striving to standardize, and harmonize all in-services training in the country. LMG Project with the IST case team within the directorate has worked hard to get these draft LM&G in-services training modules for senior health officers within the FMOH as well as to district and facility level management teams.

Mr. Petros Faltamo, Health Systems Strengthening Advisor within the USAID/Ethiopia mission congratulated the participants during the validation workshop on the hard work had been done in designing curricula objectives, content, and methodology, work that was facilitated by three local consultants hired by FMOH through the LMG Project. Petros also thanked all those who were involved in the development of these facilitators’ guides, participants’ manuals and handouts, and recognized the contributions of more than 17 organizations and training institutions that joined the national technical taskforce for the module development.

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The documents will be ready for use, and master trainers will begin training in the coming month to be able to provide capacity building training sessions. As trainers build their own capacity and as drafts of the curricula are tested with 15 directorate teams within the federal ministry of health, the LMG/Ethiopia team will continue to support this process.

Jemal Mohammed is the Project Director of the USAID-funded LMG Project in Ehtiopia.

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