Graduates of Leadership Program Help Shape the Future of Health Workforce Development in Namibia

UTAP Leadership Development Program graduates

IntraHealth leaders and participants in the UTAP Leadership Development Program celebrated in Windhoek, Namibia, last month. Back row, from left to right: Pamela McQuide, Pearl Kalimugogo, Ria Bock, Elize Booys, Elsie Hlahla, Rosaline Hendricks, Leilanie Chamberlain, Maureen Corbett, and Trilaine Massey. Front row: Cherizaan Willemse, Maritza Titus, Oretu Kavari, and Valery Mwashekele. Photo by Cherizaan Willemse for IntraHealth International.

Fourteen new leaders graduated last month from IntraHealth International’s 2017 leadership development program in Namibia. They include nurses, physicians, information technologists, technical advisors, finance managers, and communications professionals from IntraHealth’s USAID HIV Clinical Services Technical Assistance Project.

The field of health workforce development needs strong leaders who can make tough decisions, navigate complex relationships, and communicate well with anyone. That’s why IntraHealth is investing in a new generation of leaders in countries with the greatest shortage of health workers and the greatest need for a strong health workforce—including Namibia.

The leadership development program’s blended-learning framework enabled participants to learn on the job, increasing their leadership perspectives, knowledge, and skills.  

The year-long program, led by senior program manager Nick Ford, was facilitated virtually and has five integrated, key learning components:

  • self-assessments and reflections
  • development and execution of customized growth plans
  • monthly courses and tools
  • coaching
  • moderated peer-to-peer sharing

After a year of learning together, on Thursday, October 12, 2017, the leaders received certificates of successful completion from Pape Gaye, president and CEO of IntraHealth, and Maureen Corbett, vice president of programs.

Pamela McQuide, IntraHealth’s country director for Namibia, is very proud of the team.

“I had the opportunity to witness the participants during the sessions and saw how they have advanced their skills in health care operations, strategy, leadership and coaching, and critical thinking,” she says. 

You don’t need to have a title to be leader.

“The program helped me a lot to improve my leadership skills,” says Dr. Samson Ndhlovu, HIV clinical mentor and quality of care coordinator. “It helped me to set annual goals and objectives, as well as monitor the progress of these goals. It taught me how to build and lead teams. It also taught me effective communication, effective problem-solving, and decision-making.”

Dr. Pearl Kalimugogo, senior clinical director, says the program made her realize that “you don’t need to have a title to be leader—you can be a leader in your own capacity. My plea is to extend the program to others in the project.”   

The deputy chief of party, Simon Mathias, says IntraHealth’s leadership development program helped him to grow as a leader. “The 360-degree assessment that led to the development of my individual development plan has immensely helped me to draw up and follow on an IDP that I am really proud of,” he says, “like enrolling myself in a master’s in public health program that I am still pursuing today.”

The program has been so successful for IntraHealth staff in the US and Namibia that it’s gotten the attention of our government partners. We’re now working with Namibia’s Ministry of Health and Social Services to customize a leadership program for their leaders in Kavango Region in northern Namibia.

IntraHealth’s USAID HIV Clinical Services Technical Assistance Project is funded by the US Agency for International Development through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).

Valery Mwashekele contributed reporting for this story.