By Patrick Mwai
In 2016, a COSECSA surgical NGO forum was held in collaboration with the G4 Alliance, the Alliance for Surgery and Anaesthesia Presence ( ASAP) and Surgical Society of Kenya.
The event, now termed the s-NGO Forum, was organized at the COSECSA Mombasa conference and attended by local, regional, and international representatives, local NGOs, professional societies, and international NGOs. The programme included a series of introductory exercises, NGO presentations, interactive and co-creation sessions, expert speakers and group discussions.
Key recommendations that emerged from the group discussions focused on four key themes for building local surgical capacity:
1) Leadership training with emphasis on advocacy training
2) Establishing a Kenyan s-NGO network
3) Information technology infrastructure and tools to support an s-NGO community/network
4) Audits of facility for safe surgical anaesthesia care at level 4 facilities
This year, to fulfill the original recommendation of the 2016 surgical NGO forum, a Leadership, Management and Advocacy (LMA) MDI course was held in Kenya. The course consisted of 7 full days of hands-on training in LMA for surgical, anaesthetic, obstetric and trauma practitioners and other health managers. 43 participants, including surgeons, anaesthesiologists, clinical officer anaesthetists, medical officers, theatre nurses, quality assurance officers, and administrators from public, private and faith-based institutions, attended the training at SOS Training centre, Karen, Nairobi from Sunday 21st-Saturday 27th October 2018.
The goal of the training program was to equip surgical, obstetric, trauma and anaesthesia care providers with leadership, management and advocacy capability to enhance efficiency and effectiveness in the surgical sub-sector in Kenya. Armed with this training, these leaders will in turn enhance the efficiency & effectiveness of public, private and NGO stakeholders and institutions in the surgical health sub-sector to improve the quality and increase access to surgical services in Kenya. The program was customised from the existing MDI program through consultative effort among health care partners in surgical health including the G4 Alliance, Amref Health Africa and Johnson & Johnson.
To address gaps in leadership, management and advocacy skills within the surgical Health Sub-sector, the course was broken down into 8 different topics. These topics include; Leadership and Ethics, Planning and Operations Management, Health Information Systems and Data for Decision Making, Human Resource Management, Customer/Patient Care Management, Management of Resources, Management of Change and Advocacy for Surgical Health care Sub-sector.
Two participants from each participating partner institution will be required to develop a Surgical Health Improvement Project (SHIP) based on a real issue/challenge within their institution. The project will be implemented in the partner institution following the training and continue for 6 months, during which time the participants will receive support and mentorship from the faculty.
This project highlights the critical need for leadership and advocacy in improving health systems. With effective leadership and management of health systems and service delivery, the barriers to scaling up services for marginalized populations can be broken.