Strategies to Improve Women’s Leadership Preparation for Early Career Global Health Professionals: Suggestions from Two Working Groups

Background: Despite advances in gender equality, women still experience inequitable gaps in global health leadership, and barriers to women’s advancement as leaders in global health have been well described in the literature. In 2021, the Johns Hopkins Center for Global Health conducted two virtual working groups for emerging women leaders to share challenges and suggest solutions to advance women’s leadership in global health. In this paper, we present emerging themes from the working groups, provide a framework for the results, and discuss strategies for advancing women’s leadership in global health.

Objectives: The objective of this paper is to synthesize and share the themes of the two working group sessions to provide strategies for improving women’s leadership training and opportunities in the field of global health.

Methods: Approximately 182 women in the global health field participated in two virtual working group sessions hosted by the Johns Hopkins Center for Global Health using the Zoom platform. Participants were divided into virtual breakout rooms and discussed pre-assigned topics related to women’s leadership in global health. The participants then returned to share their ideas in a plenary session. Notes from the breakout rooms and transcripts from the plenary session were analyzed through a participatory and iterative thematic analysis approach.

Findings: We found that the working group participants identified two overarching themes that were critical for emerging women leaders to find success in global health leadership. First, the acquisition of individual essential skills is necessary to advance in their careers. Second, the institutional environments should be setup to encourage and enable women to enter and succeed in leadership roles. The participants also shared suggestions for improving women’s leadership opportunities such as including the use of virtual technologies to increase training and networking opportunities, intersectionality in mentorship and sponsorship, combatting impostor syndrome, and the importance of work-life balance.

Conclusions: Investing in women and their leadership potential has the promise to improve health and wealth at the individual, institutional, and community levels. This manuscript offers lessons and proposes solutions for increasing women’s leadership through improving individual level essential skills and fostering environments in which women leaders can emerge and thrive.

Needs Assessment of Leadership and Governance in Cardiovascular Health in Nepal

Background
Good governance and leadership are essential to improve healthy life expectancy particularly in low and middle-income countries (LMICs). This study aimed to epitomize the challenges and opportunities for leadership and good governance for the health system to address non-communicable diseases particularly cardiovascular diseases (CVD) in Nepal.
Objective
The objective of this study was to understand and document CVD programs and policy formulation processes and to identify the government capacity to engage stakeholders for planning and implementation purposes.
Method
A national-level task force was formed to coordinate and steer the overall need assessment process. A qualitative study design was adopted using “The Health System Assessment Approach”. Eighteen indicators under six topical areas in leadership and governance in cardiovascular health were assessed using desk review and key informant interviews.
Result
Voice and accountability exist in planning for health from the local level. The government has shown a strong willingness and has a strategy to work together with the private and non-government sectors in health however, the coordination has not been effective. There are strong rules in place for regulatory quality, control of corruption, and maintaining financial transparency. The government frequently relies on evidence generated from large-scale surveys for health policy formulation and planning but research in cardiovascular health has been minimum. There is a scarcity of cardiovascular disease-specific protocols.
Conclusion
Despite plenty of opportunities, much homework is needed to improve leadership and governance in cardiovascular health in Nepal. The government needs to designate a workforce for specific programs to help monitor the enforcement of health sector regulations, allocate enough funding to encourage CVD research, and work towards developing CVD-specific guidelines, protocols, and capacity building.

Role of General Practitioners in transforming surgical care in rural Nepal – A descriptive study from eastern Nepal.

Introduction: Nepal is a low-to-middle-income country (LMIC) with a predominantly rural population. Almost 10-20% of patients presenting to hospital require surgical care. The availability of skilled human resources in managing surgical care in rural areas of Nepal has to expand to meet this need. The objective of this study is to describe and demonstrate how General Practitioners (GPs) can be upskilled to provide surgical care in rural district hospitals in Nepal.

Method: It is a retrospective review of all surgical procedures performed by GPs from 1st February 2016 to 31st January 2021 at Charikot hospital. Data was collected from a prospectively maintained Electronic Health Record (EHR) system (Bahmini). Details of data collected included name of the procedure and its respective specialty. GP Task shifting and targeted surgical training programs for common orthopedic procedures and pediatric herniotomy were described in detail.

Result: A wide range of surgical procedures were performed by GPs over 5 years. This included interventions for obstetric emergencies, trauma and orthopedics, gynecological issues, general surgery of adult and childhood. A total of 2037 surgeries were performed by GPs including: Cesarean section 25%, 19.7% were orthopedics surgeries followed by 13.5% of mesh repair for abdominal hernia, 9.3% eversion of sac for Hydrocele, 8.7% appendectomy, 5.2% hysterectomy, 3% of pediatric herniotomy and others.

Conclusion: GPs can be further trained to perform important common surgical procedures to improve access to surgical care for rural communities.

Global paediatric surgery: meeting an unmet need-the response of the British Association of Paediatric Surgeons.

AIM:
Outline the response from an organisation regarding the unmet needs in global children’s surgery METHOD: The burden of global surgical disease, whilst daunting, is becoming increasingly better defined as agencies, surgical colleges and professional specialty associations all attempt to increase capacity in terms of manpower, support education and find sustainable solutions to the deficit of health in treating women and children. However, definition of the problem does not in itself create change and similarly, humanitarian activities including volunteering by established surgical practitioners and other non-governmental organisations (NGOs) make only marginal improvement in the standards of care on offer at a global level.

RESULTS:
The International Affairs Committee, British Association of Paediatric Surgeons (BAPS) has had its target firmly set on investing in potential leaders within paediatric surgery in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), and sharing elements of the educational programme made available for training within the UK and Ireland with the aim of contributing to the solutions of inequity in the surgical standards available to the world’s children.

CONCLUSION:
This article outlines some of the practical steps that have been deployed by BAPS by way of sharing the responsibility for problem-solving at a global level. It also highlights the need for clarity in advocacy and the route through which effective communication can translate into wider and more effective delivery of surgical care for children.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation: An opportunity to lead innovation in global surgery

Background
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has made unparalleled contributions to global health and human development by bringing together generous funding, strategic partnerships, and innovative leadership. For the last twenty years, the Gates Foundation has supported the expansion of programs that directly address the fundamental barriers to the advancement of marginalized communities around the globe, with a transformative focus on innovations to combat communicable diseases and to ensure maternal and child health. Despite the wide spectrum of programs, the Gates Foundation has not, as of yet, explicitly supported the development of surgical care.

Methods
This article explores the pivotal role that the Gates Foundation could play in advancing the emerging global surgery agenda. First, we demonstrate the importance of the Gates Foundation’s contributions by reviewing its history, growth, and evolution as a pioneering supporter of global health and human development. Recognizing the Foundation’s use of metrics and data in strategic planning and action, we align the priorities of the Foundation with the growing recognition of surgical care as a critical component of efforts to ensure universal health care.

Results
To promote healthy lives and well-being for all, development of quality and affordable capacity for surgery, obstetrics and anesthesia is more important than ever. We present the unique opportunity for the Gates Foundation to bring its transformative vision and programing to the effort to ensure equitable, timely, and quality surgical care around the world.