Workshop 20-22 April, Sierra Leone: Building resilient sub-national health systems – Strengthening Leadership and Management Capacity of District Health Management Teams

The outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone has had a major
impact on the health status of the population and on already fragile health systems. As we move from
E(Ebola) to H(a resilient health system), district health management teams (DHMTs) will play an
important role in rebuilding of the health systems.
DHMTs are responsible for planning, organising and monitoring health provision, training personnel,
engaging with communities, supplying drugs and equipment, and ensure that quality and equitable
health services reach populations. However, evidence shows that DHMTs in low resource countries
have not been effective enough in overseeing provision of health care services at sub-national levels.
This has been partly attributed to inadequate capacity in planning, budgeting, financial management
coupled with weak monitoring and evaluation of plans and budgets.
In light of the recent Ebola epidemic and the push towards decentralization, more resources and
responsibility are being committed to DHMTs. It is therefore imperative that DHMTs are properly
equipped with the right set of leadership and management skills to deliver cost effective, high impact
health service programs in their respective communities.
Post-Ebola national recovery plans from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone articulate the critical
importance of improving service delivery at the sub-national level, hand in hand with a population focused
public health approach.
The three-day workshop, which will take place at the Shangri La, 92 Beach Road, Lumley,
in Freetown, Sierra Leone, will seek to gather best practices for how to address leadership and
management capacity gaps and challenges at the sub-national level in the three Ebola-affected
countries by bringing together expertise on management and capacity building to brainstorm
around the current prevailing issues and recommend innovative strategies to best address these
The workshop will convene notable experts from within WHO, non-governmental organizations
(NGOs), development partners, ministries of health and capacity building advisors alongside DHMT
representation, to jointly develop practical approaches on how best to design and implement
effective capacity development programs for DHMTs in post disaster/outbreak countries.
The emphasis is on bridging the knowledge gap, recommending intervention packages, and
identifying delivery models that address leadership and management capacity at sub-national levels.
This will be drawn from evidence-based experiences of experts around the table. The workshop
deliberately convenes key specialists on the subject alongside district team representation. Further,
representation from ministries of finance, local government, implementing partners and civil
societies allow perspectives and input into effective implementation of national recovery plans at the
This workshop is the first in a series of WHO country-focused meetings on improving district-based
health systems. Follow-up workshops will be scheduled to monitor improvements, cross-fertilize
thinking and harness critical elements of the improvement process to stimulate change at the

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