During the first week of November, AMP Health held it’s first-ever Leadership Lab at the beautiful Makokola Retreat on the shores of Lake Malawi in Nkopola, Malawi. Community health leaders from ministries of health Kenya, Malawi, and Sierra Leone joined their Management Partner counterparts and partners from GSK, the Office of the UN Special Envoy for Health and USAID to engage in an immersive four-day leadership and management development program and share learnings from their respective community health systems.
Delivered by Adaptive Change Advisors, AMP Health’s leadership and management development program applies principles of Adaptive Leadership, a very pragmatic approach to driving progress in challenging and complex environments which has been adopted by leading business, government and non-profit organizations. Through the lens of specific leadership and management challenges participants face in their day-to-day work, discussions facilitated by professional coaches in large group, small group and individual sessions were designed to foster deeper understanding of root causes and encourage experimentation on potential solutions (which is why this was called a Leadership Lab). Dedicated coaches for each country team and individual will continue to work with participants to help them monitor, fine tune and stay on track towards their development goals jointly set at the Leadership Lab.
The Malawi Ministry of Health hosted the group on a field visit to ‘hard to reach’ villages (defined as being more than 5km away from the nearest health facility), which were served by health surveillance assistants (HSA, Malawi’s community health workers) who provide integrated community case management of conditions such as malaria, diarrhea and pneumonia. During our visit, we met Alfred, an HSA who had been serving his community with an open door (including on nights and weekends at his home) for the last 15 years. While we were there, he diagnosed a little boy with malaria and began treatment for him. As our MoH host for the day noted, “if Alfred wasn’t here, the story might have been different for that boy”. Participants also met with the members of Village Health Committees (which support the work of HSAs) and community members. All of these discussions provided the opportunity for our country teams to learn from each other on topics ranging from recruiting, training, remuneration, and supervision to supply chain and mobility of HSAs, bringing new insights and inspiration for what they could champion in their own systems.
Overall, 100% of participants responding to a survey agreed that the Leadership Lab was relevant and helpful for their work, adding that:
- “Field visit and team coaching were both great as well as having opportunities to interact with AMP Health partners and people working in other countries”
- “Individual coaching was useful to process the information from the workshop”
- “Great field visit. Good facilitation of tough team discussions”
We are grateful to our colleagues in Malawi, who were integral in planning the Leadership Lab and helped make our visit to the Warm Heart of Africa unforgettable. Our next Leadership Lab will be held in Spring 2017.