In July, the IHR Strengthening Project Workforce Development and Laboratory teams collaborated with the Ethiopian Public Health Institute (EPHI) to deliver two workshops in support of workforce strengthening.

The first 2-day workshop focussed on the development of mentorship skills for EPHI quality assurance colleagues charged with supporting hospital laboratories in achieving quality management accreditation. Participants practiced and developed the key skills to enable them to engage with laboratory staff and provide support by applying the R-GROW model (Relationship, Goal, Reality, Options and Will). This was well received by the participants who committed to using the new skills that they had acquired.

The next week, the teams again collaborated to deliver a 5-day workshop on Laboratory Leadership – sharing and discussing leadership and development practices and applying them to a laboratory setting.  Participants were aspiring laboratory leaders from across EPHI. Each day consisted of a workforce session in the morning followed by a laboratory expert presenting in Amharic in the afternoon, demonstrating how those principles can be applied in context.

Day 1 looked at vision and goal setting, followed by an inspiring talk and Q&A in the afternoon by Dr Gizachew Yismaw, Research director at Amhara Public Health Institute, on successful lab accreditation.

On day 2, the workforce development team led sessions on managing teams of professionals, equipping the participants with skills & techniques that can be used to do this. In the afternoon, the laboratory team took these skills and translated them into an outbreak response setting - with an exemplary talk by Mr Adamu Tayachew, Lead of the Respiratory Viral Diseases Surveillance and response team at EPHI, on his experience during covid-19 and beyond, followed by an outbreak scenario discussion.

The sessions on day 3 covered working with partners and in different situations/systems with a fruitful exercise on stakeholder mapping; the laboratory team then ran an activity exploring laboratory stakeholder scenarios - important work on how effective leadership and management translates into these technical settings. 

The week concluded with a fantastic presentation by Mr Hussein Faris, Grant Management Coordinator at EPHI on Project Management and Budgets, and participants writing their personal leadership action plans to implement over the coming months.  Both participants and facilitators found the experience immensely rewarding

A big thank you is extended to EPHI for having us and supporting this series, and to our Ethiopia based staff Hiwot, Yabsira and Tiruneh for their help in organising and facilitating these events. We are already looking forward to the planned follow up remote workshops which will be held over the coming months. 

By Ellie Fairfoot