By William Madouk Garang
At least 43 health officials have graduated from Public Health Institute on Friday after a successful 3-months training in Data Management, Leadership, Management and Governance fellowships.
The fellowship programme which target health officials at both national and state level, is meant to strengthen leadership expertise in health management to improve resilience to the growing global health challenges.
This was the first cohort graduation from the South Sudan Public Health Institute (SSPI) since the competency-based fellowship program was launched three months ago by ministry of health and partners.
The Director-General for Preventive Health at the Ministry of Health (MOH), Dr John Rumunu who doubles as a guest of honour, congratulated the graduates and urged them to work toward the country’s health policy.
“In health, I would like to say that we need to ensure that we raise up managers who led and leaders who inspire others towards the vision, goals and objectives of the MOH enshrined in the current health policy,” Rumunu said.
“Our vision is healthy and productive population in South Sudan living a dignified life, so, my colleagues this is what you are going to inspire all of us in to ensure that we attain this vision,” he added.
He added that vision can be achieved together with the mission which is a delivery of health and nutrition for all.
He assured the graduates that they will work with partners for the sustainability of the fellowship program.
“Though I am not worthy to declare this but I will ask the Hon. Undersecretary and the minister of Health to make this course mandatory to certain levels of the leaders at the MOH,” he stressed.
Anyanzo Stephen, a technical brief on SSPHI first Cohort fellowship said that after the launch of the program, they received applications and 30 candidates for both fellowships were selected but later decreased to 23 for both; however lastly 43 participants graduated.
“This last phase we manage now to graduates 20 from data management fellowship and 23 for Leadership, Management and Governance (fellowship),” Stephen said.
Intra-Health representative, Dr. Alfred Okira said they have walked long journey to successfully witness the fruit today which a milestone and advised the graduates to go apply what they had learnt.
“You (graduands) really need to go and apply these skills because the most important part of this is not the certificate but what you do with a knowledge that you have achieved that’s the most important part of the training,” Okira instructed.
The Country’s Director for US – Centers for disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Juba, Sudhiree Bunga said as CDC they shifted away from a week or a day workshop in hotel towards in-service fellowship based on mentor training program.
Mr. Bunga added: “CDC will in partnership with MOH will continue to do this, continue to invest more into subnational level and continue to invest more on workforce capacity building and continue to invest more on project based approach to capacity building.”
UNDP representative, Blaire Kaubushi said: “I will call for partners to support the government in this period where government is not equipped enough to provide adequate compensation to staff the partner can shift in and offer or provide allowances to staff to remain where they are”.
However, the director of SSPHI, Dr. Angok Gordon said they conducted analysis and they realized that there’s a big gap on leadership, management, governance plus data management as such the fellowship was born.
The fellowship program was supported by CDC-US, Intra-Health International, WHO in collaboration with the University of Juba to design, develop and develop a fellowship program on Data Management, and Leadership, Management and Governance fellowships.