When asked what she likes most about her work, she offered: “being involved with GHLI long enough to see many of the graduates of our programs move into ever-greater positions of responsibility and impact. I am inspired by each new group of men and women who enroll in our management training programs. I know the GHLI model of engagement works.”
GHLI research associate, Dr. Netsanet Fetene was inspired to pursue a career in medicine to help the ill people, especially children, he observed in Ethiopia. “Many of deaths in Ethiopia were caused by treatable, even curable diseases,” explains Dr. Fetene, “this was something I just could not overlook.” Motivated by his strong will to make a difference in his community, Dr. Fetene went on to study medicine at Addis Ababa University.
Dr. Fetene’s commitment to improve the lives of those around him has been evident since the beginning of his career. As a practicing medical doctor in Ethiopia hospitals, he quickly realized his work could have an even greater impact if he focused on the field of public health. This led him to become involved in with some of the world’s preeminent public health organizations such as the World Health Organization. Dr. Fetene believes that research, management and leadership programs are the key to strengthening a nation’s health system – and in turn, strengthening a nation’s overall health.
Prior to working at GHLI, Dr. Fetene worked on capacity building projects for the reproductive and primary health care teams in South Sudan, Pakistan and Sudan. There he established protocols and systems for drug management, developed reporting tools, and implemented case management based on Ministry of Health and World Health Organization protocols.
As part of GHLI, Dr. Fetene enjoys translating research into actionable results that help solve health problems in his community. While Dr. Fetene and the GHLI team have achieved great success in Ethiopia, he believes that there is still much more work to be done. A slow response to change in disease patterns related to population growth and urbanization is just one of the many challenges he and the team in Ethiopia face. Additionally, making health care facilities ready to provide quality health care services and allow the community access to standardized and equitable health care remains one of the biggest global health problems today. Still, Dr. Fetene remains optimistic that the work GHLI does is an integral part of overcoming these challenges and looks forward to continuing to serve his community in the field of public health.
As a child, I watched people with acute and chronic illnesses coming to the health station located hundreds of meters from our home. My father was a health assistant in charge of a rural government clinic and spent most of the days working in the clinic. He was sometimes called for emergency services during the night and had to travel to remote rural villages when epidemics occurred. My exposure and interest in public health was a part of my life as long as I can remember.
After completing my high school education, I enrolled in the Addis Ababa Centralized School of Nursing. I was assigned to the rural health center Arsi, Robe where I started my professional career as a qualified nurse. There I diagnosed and treated patients, provided maternal and child health services, and vaccinated children at the health center and outreach posts. I was often expected to perform those duties without a supervisor – which challenged me while also giving me the opportunity to make decisions, be confident and broaden my education and experience.
After four years at the rural health center I was transferred to a regional hospital in Arsi, Assela where I worked in several departments and managed a nurses division. I then relocated to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia where I joined the Black Lion Specialized Referral Hospital and served for 15 years in diverse positions. During that time, I also advanced my education and received a B.S. degree in nursing and M.H.A. in Health Care Administration.
I joined the GHLI HEPCAPS Project in November 2013. I appreciate and enjoy the strategic thinking of the program, which aims to strengthen health systems in African countries, mainly through capacity building, training and research. As part of the HEPCAPS team, I work to strengthen primary health care units within the larger health sector in Ethiopia. The time motion study for HEPCAPS and PHCU demonstration project by GHLI are the most rewarding aspects of my work. This project helps us understand how health extension workers in Ethiopia spend their time, and my role includes collecting, monitoring and reviewing this data. The biggest challenge is bringing the people and the stakeholders I work with on board to implement the strategy.
As my work progresses, I hope to continue to improve health systems at the grassroots level and to also develop my skills by working on projects with people from which I can continue to learn and grow.
GHLI program manager Nikole Allen first became interested in global development as a freshman in high school. Nikole realized that, “access to education, health and economic opportunities provided to most Americans is not universal.” She became actively involved in Operation Days’ Work, a USAID-led youth development program.The program empowers students to promote international awareness and support educational initiatives in lower income countries. Nikole’s work with the program focused on funding a grant to refurbish a secondary school in rural Ethiopia. With piqued interest in the global health field, she selected a major in international studies at the Western Oregon University.
While pursuing her Master’s of Public Health through the Peace Corps Master International program at the University of Washington she was reconnected to Ethiopia, where she worked as a community HIV/AIDS advisor. Later, she joined the Clinton Health Access Initiative’s Ethiopian Hospital Management Initiative and began working with the Ministry of Health to help hospitals interpret key performance methods — including the measurement of patient and staff satisfaction, the uptake of patient satisfaction best practices and the implementation of the World Health Organization Surgical Safety Checklist.
Since joining the GHLI team, Nikole has led research and training programs in the United Kingdom, Tanzania and Rwanda. GHLI has provided her with the opportunity to collaborate with a variety of groups in different health systems. She particularly enjoys learning about each group’s challenges and providing them with the guidance and support to generate strategies to address those problems.
“The GHLI leadership programs are incredibly valuable because they offer country participants the ability to learn outside of their regular environment and reflect on their challenges.”
“I appreciate that GHLI recognizes that health system challenges exist everywhere, so we have domestic projects and partners in high income countries as well,” said Nikole. “I’m looking forward to continuing to explore the intersection of public health and development across the globe.”
Dawit Tatek, GHLI Program Manager for the Ethiopia Hospital Management Initiative (EHMI) became interested in public health after seeing people unnecessarily die from preventable diseases. “The problems I saw were more common among residents who lived far from health facilities. Seeing positive results from health programs in improving equity in access to health service was the turning point in my career as public health professional.”
Dawit completed his undergraduate training in Medical Laboratory Technology and Clinical Nursing at the University of Gondar, Ethiopia. After working at the Gondar hospital for six years, he joined the Clinton Health Access Initiative to work in the Ethiopian Millennium Rural Initiative program, and was appointed primary health care unit coordinator. He worked in remote areas to improve implementation of the health extension program, increase HIV counseling and testing, and increase delivery of services. In 2011, Dawit joined GHLI and has been working with EHMI, managing two Master’s of Hospital Administration programs in Ethiopia while acquiring a Master’s Degree in General Public Health.
One of the aspects of GHLI that Dawit enjoys most is the use of critical thinking and an evidence-based approach. He commends GHLI for applying scientific problem solving techniques to improve quality in hospital and healthcare management.
“I find it extremely rewarding to help transform hospitals managers into confidant and outstanding leaders through the MHA program. It is very satisfying to receive good feedback on the program and know that I have helped.”
But Dawit’s job is not without its challenges. Working with stakeholders who may not always understand the urgency of the problem can lead to inefficiency in job performance, and students are not always willing to learn and change as quickly as the program demands. However, despite these challenges, Dawit hopes to assume more leadership responsibilities and become involved in strategy management processes. He also hopes to pursue a Ph.D. in health economics and health policy in the near future.