Digital Health Leadership program- Rwanda

The UGHE Digital Health Applied Leadership Program Is Designed to Develop a New Generation of Digital Health Leaders. The University of Global Health Equity (UGHE), in collaboration with Digital Health at PATH, has launched the Digital Health Applied Leadership Program (DHALP) with the goal of enhancing the knowledge, expertise, and capabilities of digital health practitioners and stakeholders in the countries of Zimbabwe, Malawi, Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Guinea, as well as bolstering digital health infrastructure. At the Digital Health Leadership Capacity Building Conference that took place in November 2019, participants from 17 poor and medium income nation governments, the World Health Organization (WHO), investors, and educators collaborated to develop the basic idea of the Program.

UGHE, located in the Northern province of Rwanda, is extremely honoured to lead the DHALP project with its consortium partners for the expansion of digital health across francophone and anglophone Sub-Saharan Africa and beyond. Rwanda is one of the countries at the forefront of creating an enabling environment for digital health strategies to thrive, particularly in ensuring quality healthcare for all. Furthermore, UGHE is one of the countries that is at the forefront of creating an enabling environment for digital health strategies to thrive.

The Digital Health Advanced Leadership Program (DHALP) is a learning programme that lasts for a whole year and helps participants improve their ability to effectively lead and carry out digital health activities. Since July 2021, the DHALP’s implementation consortium, which includes the University of Thies, the Stanford Center for Health Education, and Inshuti Mu Buzima – Partners in Health in Rwanda, and is led by the University of Global Health Equity (UGHE), has been preparing the programme. This preparation involves the development of material as well as the selection of participants through the use of rigorous assessment.

There are also other partners, such as TechChange and the World Bank. Funding was provided to UGHE by Digital Square, an initiative led by PATH and funded and designed by the United States Agency for International Development, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and a consortium of other investors; and BACKUP Health, which was commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), co-financed by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), and implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für internationalen Entwicklung (GIZ). This funding was provided in order to (GIZ).

It is now abundantly obvious that the significant problem of Africa’s lack of access to medical care and educational opportunities cannot be solved without the use of digital solutions. Therefore, in order to ensure that its professionals are prepared for the future, the continent has to step up to the challenge and generate new possibilities. One such chance is presented by the remarkable Digital Health Applied Leadership Program, and I have high hopes that we will be able to take full use of it. The delivery of medical treatment will almost entirely take place online in the foreseeable future. Professor of Surgery, Dean of the School of Medicine, and Deputy Vice Chancellor Abebe Bekele, MD, FCS, FACS (Academic and Research Affairs)

Learners who successfully complete the Program will be awarded a digital health leader practitioner certificate.

 This certificate will serve as evidence that the learner has acquired the pertinent technical skills and knowledge required to successfully implement, scale, and maintain digital health interventions. In addition to this, they will have acquired a grasp of how to construct inclusive teams, establish a plan, lobby for resources, and successfully communicate across departments, as well as with funders and other partners. 

Teams of learners at the national level will acquire the knowledge and expertise essential to build governance structures, which is vital to drive effective digital health initiatives that are owned by the country. At the international level, the DHALP will work to establish a global network of practitioners who will be able to continue gaining knowledge from one another and advocating for the necessary policies and resources from multilateral institutions, donors, and the private sector in order to advance global digital health. The first workshop started on May 4th, 2022, and will go all the way through April 2023.

The governments of sub-Saharan Africa have made a commitment to using digital technology to enhance their existing healthcare systems, broaden citizens’ access to relevant health information, and move the continent closer toward health equality. In order to scale up digital health systems, the health personnel has to increase their understanding of digital health as well as their leadership abilities in this area. 

There is not, however, a programme that is currently available that is geared toward developing the professional and institutional capacity that exists within governments, as well as promoting the level of participation among agencies, leadership, and coordination that is necessary to enable digital transformation for the purpose of improving health systems. This problem is going to be tackled head-on by the Digital Health Applied Leadership Program (DHALP), which will also foster the development of a network of digital health leaders.