Leadership skills to fight disease
Could leadership skills strengthen efforts to control schistosomiasis in West Africa? A new research project led by Imperial's Schistosomiasis Control Initiative aims to find out.
Schistosomiasis is a parasitic disease affecting millions across the developing world. Imperial’s Schistosomiasis Control Initiative is working with partners across sub-Saharan Africa to deliver safe and effective treatment. “Our ambition is to strengthen health systems in the countries we work with, to empower our in-country partners and give them the confidence to take the lead in their treatment programmes,” says Nadia Ben Meriem, who is an advisor for the SCI-supported treatment programme in Côte d’Ivoire. “And training is an important part of that.”
Nadia has recently returned from Côte d’Ivoire where she was delivering a training course on leadership skills for health workers, in partnership with the country’s ministry of health. “The course is for people involved in running treatment programmes for schistosomiasis and other neglected tropical diseases. The aim was to help people feel empowered to influence, to become a catalyst for change and to lead others towards a shared goal.”
“We’re so grateful to everyone who donates to support the SCI. Your generosity helps us to deliver treatment to those who need it – and to safeguard the future of schistosomiasis treatment programmes."
Nadia Ben Meriem
Programme Manager for Cote d'Ivoire at SCI
The Côte d’Ivoire training is part of a wider SCI research project which is looking at whether nurturing leadership skills can make health initiatives in the developing world more effective. Numerous studies have highlighted the need for better training in leadership skills for government health workers but, as yet, few ministries of health provide it. Over the next two years, the SCI team will be providing leadership training and evaluating its impact on, for example, project management and programme effectiveness.
Over 15 people in Côte d’Ivoire have now participated in the course, with very positive responses so far. “With this training, I have gained confidence,” says Dr Aboulaye Meite, who coordinates the country’s schistosomiasis treatment programme. “The training captured the attention of the audience, with great examples that were easy to follow, allowing all to participate and interact.”
“This research project is about understanding what training people need to be effective health leaders,” explains Nadia. “We’re so grateful to everyone who donates to support the SCI. Your generosity helps us to deliver treatment to those who need it – and to safeguard the future of schistosomiasis treatment programmes. Thank you.”
Schistosomiasis is a parasitic tropical disease that affects millions. It causes chronic ill health and malnourishment and, left untreated, can cause organ damage. With its partners, and supported by philanthropic donors, SCI provides the technical assistance and training required to deliver treatment to millions of people every year across Africa and in Yemen.