Transforming women health leadership for improved health outcomes
Accra, Ghana — Women health leaders play a vital role in building the resilience of communities and health systems. In Ghana, women are providing critical leadership at all levels of the health sector to deliver a health system that responds to the needs of the population.
To strengthen the capacity of women leaders and managers in the health sector to help deliver a more robust health system in Ghana, the World Health Organization (WHO) with support from the United Kingdom Government through the Department of Health and Social Care (UK-DHSC) organized a capacity building for women health leaders as part of the Health Workforce Programme.
The in-person training is part of a four-month WHO Pathways to Leadership for Health Transformation Programme, to enhance the capacity of health leaders to lead the transformation agenda of the health sector. This training, which was initially designed for the WHO workforce, has since been extended to WHO member countries in response to the request by health ministers at the 70th Session of the WHO Regional Committee for Africa.
This all-female group of trainees is the third cohort of health leaders to receive leadership training in Ghana and is in fulfilment of the Ministry of Health’s agenda of 60% allocation of this training opportunity to women.
The Leadership for Health Transformation aims to provide the required high-level leadership and strategic support to senior leaders in the health sector to enable them to transform health outcomes in their countries.
“Stereotypes continue to impact the growth and influence of women health leaders, resulting in a leadership gap. This training will position our women health leaders to make the greatest difference in addressing health sector challenges and transforming the health system,” noted the WHO Representative to Ghana, Dr Francis Kasolo during an address at the women health leaders training.
For the women health leaders, the training has enhanced their capacity to deploy their strongest skills and a state-of-the-art understanding of what it takes to manage available resources to achieve Ghana’s strategic health priorities.
“From this transformational leadership training, my path to becoming a strategic leader is clear. I have learnt how I can create an environment that will enhance team performance,” said Dr Shirley Owusu-Ofori, the Acting Chief Executive Officer of the National Blood Service. “I am going to institutionalize mentorship and support for team members as that is an effective way to get the best out of them”.
“The lesson here is clear. We must build an appreciative leadership character to motivate health workers to deliver the best service. This is what is going to guide my operations at the Western Regional Health Directorate,” added Dr Gifty Amugi, the Deputy Director of Public Health for the Western Region.
The participants also pledge their commitment to use the knowledge from the training to groom the next generation of leaders.
“This training has truly been transformational for me,” stated Mrs. Vivian Addo Cobbiah, Deputy Chief Executive, Operations for the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA). “I have been equipped with the perfect guide to build an effective team and groom the next generation of leaders for the health sector”.
Since 2021, a total of 81 senior health managers in three cohorts have benefited from the Leadership for Health Transformation Programme. WHO remains committed to fostering an enabling environment for high-level women leadership to lead national and global efforts to transform health outcomes.