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Lancaster University: Lancaster University brings African medical professionals together for leadership summit

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Medical leaders from across sub-Saharan Africa shared valuable insights and experiences at a week-long event at Lancaster University Ghana.

The residential experience in Accra brought together medical professionals from across the region for a week engaging in open dialogue and reflection around leadership practice.

All are studying for a Master’s degree with Lancaster University’s Centre for Executive Training and Development (CeTAD) through the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission Distance Learning Scholarship Programme.

The scholarships, provided through the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission (CSC), offer health service professionals from Cameroon, The Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Tanzania and Uganda, who would otherwise be unable to afford to study for a Master’s degree , the opportunity to develop their professional practice in leadership and management.

The programmes are fully funded and result in the award of either an MSc Medical Leadership or MSc Leadership Practice (Healthcare Improvement) from Lancaster University.

“Through the scholarships, we are able to offer these students a curriculum which is flexible and person-centred, in particular through the application of digital technology,” said Dr Jo Greenwood, a Teaching Fellow with CeTAD. “It allows them to work towards leading health service improvement in their communities.

“The residential allowed further exploration of the topics explored within the online modules and was a great opportunity for collaboration and collective enquiry about what healthcare could and should look like across sub-Saharan Africa.

“We addressed the issues with criticality, intentionality and humour in equal measure. It was a privilege for the CeTAD teaching team to be part of important conversations about practice.”

“My stay at LU Ghana was a wonderfully transforming week that taught me the value of asking why and how when dealing with difficult problems like enhancing the health system,” said scholarship studentDr Ibrahim Abubakar, a Senior Registrar for Family Medicine, in Nigeria. “The residential programme demonstrated the benefits of coming together to think through many approaches to value-based leadership for the transformation of health systems. It was a phenomenal three days that have left indelible memories.

“What I could not have predicted is how much I would learn from the other students. Despite our diverse professional callings, I was able to see right away that we shared many fundamental values. We had all enrolled in the medical and leadership practice programme with the same overarching objective in mind, which was to better understand the healthcare systems in which we work and to learn how we can more actively provide transformative leadership.

“Hearing several perspectives on the same fundamental issue — “poor health systems”— across various geographic divides revealed the intricacy of each situation in full.

“We found the carefully structured modules and choice of faculty most exciting and it will help us immensely in our self-directed learning throughout the programme.

Lancaster University hopes to start a programme for another cohort of scholarship students in September 2023.