Data Scientist and iGIS Technical Lead, Glenna Wilson represented the Directorate of Science, Technology, and Innovation (DSTI) at the Last Mile Health, Community Health Academy organised “Designing the Future for Health Systems Leadership Workshop” in Kampala Uganda (February 17th -19th, 2020).
Last Mile Health was founded in 2007 to support governments in building national community health systems. To promote its vision, Last Mile Health launched the Community Health Academy in 2017 to strengthen the clinical skills of community health workers and the capacity of health system leaders in order to build higher quality health systems by leveraging the power of digital training tools through partnerships with Ministries and development partners in the health sector.
The Community Health Academy operates at a global, regional and country-level. The regional level is made up of western and central African countries, including Liberia, where the regional hub sits, and Sierra Leone, the newest hub member. Representatives from the various countries at the regional level will be responsible for developing and strengthening partnerships, recruiting a regional faculty network and establishing a community of practice.
The workshop was designed to create a shared vision among member countries for a global health systems leadership development programme. Participants from around the world, focused on ideas to answer questions such as; what are the most critical competencies, skill sets, and areas of expertise needed by current and next generation health systems leaders? How can they establish high-impact regional communities of practice that support leaders to advance improvement in their health systems? How is the impact of leadership development on health systems change measured?
As a member of the Community Health Academy, DSTI will work jointly with the Ministry of Health and Sanitation to develop and digitize a sustainable and global curriculum that equips community health workers and health system leaders in Sierra Leone with high-quality, on-demand, and engaging digital education materials.
The partnership will be led on the technical side by Glenna, whose technical background and previous collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Sanitation on the iGIS portal (which involved mapping all national assets including health facilities and building a database that will be used to track and monitor all child and maternal cases), makes her the ideal focal person. The Human Capital Development Incubator at DSTI, previously engaged Last Mile Health on their work in strengthening service delivery at the community health level in a bid to reduce the maternal mortality rate.
In her remarks at the workshop, Glenna expressed that “the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, DSTI, and the Human Capital Development Incubator, are committed to this partnership and helping to improve health systems for all Sierra Leoneans by improving the content and delivery of health services education to all the Community Health Workers and health policymakers using digital and innovative tools including the iGIS and USSD systems.”
Part of Glenna’s role as the focal person will be to ensure that Sierra Leone participates fully and benefits from the Community Health Academy’s edX courses (developed by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology) for health system leaders and Community Health Workers.
Plans are currently underway for Sierra Leone to host a similar “Designing the Future for Health Systems Leadership Workshop” with Last Mile Health and the Community Health Academy under the leadership of the Ministry of Health and Sanitation and DSTI.