On Monday, 16th September 2013, SBS launched the Africa Institute for Healthcare Management, an initiative that will be driven by the need to train individuals and organisations involved in healthcare delivery on management principles. The AIHM seeks to bring in the involvement of African Universities and Business Schools involved in healthcare management training to take part in offering advanced degree programs. Most universities will have the resources to hire a small number of faculty to address some of the topics relevant to healthcare management, but it is unlikely that any one institution will have the resources to identify and hire the full range of faculty needed to address the dozens of different specialized topics that such a degree whether it is a Masters of Health Administration, Masters of Health Policy or MBA would require, especially if the preference is to engage faculty on a full-time basis and encourage top tier research.
The participating African regions will be East Africa, South and Western Africa which will come together to form a consortium to recruit, hire and manage a group of faculty that can be shared among the member institutions of AIHM.
During the launch, the Chairman of the AIHM, Dr. Shadrick Mazaza stressed the need to impose a policy that all healthcare professionals must be trained in management principles, given the place that healthcare plays in the entire economic development of Africa.
As the Millennium Development Goals aspire, healthcare is a human right that has been in scarce supply in many regions of the world, particularly in Africa. While it is the case that human resource development of physicians, nurses and other healthcare professionals is a pressing need for the continent, it is also true that development of a professional class of healthcare managers is just as pressing.
The Need for an African Institute
Using the scope of the SBS curriculum as an indicator, a typical MBA program in healthcare management, in addition to requiring faculty qualified to teach traditional core courses, would need up to 25 additional instructors to address the application of the core courses to healthcare management situations and the various topics under the headings of the course titles above. SBS is approaching this challenge with a combination of current faculty members who are committed to adding material relevant to healthcare, local guest faculty, and faculty drawn from the Wharton School, Johns Hopkins and other institutions. While this will be effective and provide all the opportunities needed for learning by the students, it would be even more effective with a specialized, dedicated faculty that focuses on African health care issues.
A program offered under the auspices of a school of public health or public policy would likely have significant congruence with the content of an MBA program, but with obvious differences related to the core missions of those schools. For example, a school of public health might want to emphasize more epidemiology, community health principles, health indicators, and specific health services, such as maternal-child health. A public policy school, similarly, would likely emphasize more the legal grounding of healthcare services and the research and development of new policies addressing health needs. Having pointed out these differences, any degree program purporting to prepare students for a career in some aspect of healthcare management would have to provide learning opportunities similar to those in the SBS curriculum.
For more information about the healthcare programs at SBS, click here.