Using Leadership Practices for Epidemic Preparedness

  • Published Date: May 2016

Lieutenant (Lt.) Colonel Moumouni Lougue, the Director of the Water and Forest Department in Côte d'Ivoire’s Guiglo district, recently participated in his first Leadership Development Program Plus (LDP+) workshop—a participatory program to develop leadership and management capacity in the health sector. The LDP+ was recently launched in the Kabadougou-Bafing-Folon, Cavally-Guémon, and Tonpki regions by the USAID-funded Leadership, Management, and Governance (LMG) Ebola project in Côte d'Ivoire. Participants in the workshop included staff from the Ministries of Health, the National Institute for Public Health, and the Departments of Agriculture, the Environment, and Water and Forests. Over the next eight months, these participants will learn key leading, managing, and governing practices, enabling them to collaborate across sectors to face challenges and achieve measurable results.

At the beginning of the LDP+, Lt. Colonel Lougue was one of many participants who were skeptical about the added value of participating in the LDP+ process; however, over the course of the first workshop, he let his guard down and even agreed to play the role of the "village chief" to ensure that all participants respected the ground rules that they had set for themselves in order to successfully complete work during the workshop.

Making Workshops Worthwhile

Before the first LDP+ workshop, it was virtually impossible to organize and bring together actors from different sectors to work on health issues. As Lt. Colonel Lougue said, "Before, when my colleagues from the [Ministry of Health] invited me to a meeting or activity, I was reticent and defensive, but over the course of the LDP+ workshop, my barriers fell. I realized that we have only one health and that by working together we can help to guarantee good health for all. The leadership, management, and governance practices that we learned are so important and innovative that I advocated for my colleagues at the police and gendarmerie to [also] be involved in the [LDP+] process."

The LDP+ process has just begun in these three regions, with each improvement team completing a challenge model to define its shared vision and mission. Participating teams have decided to focus this LDP+ on promoting effective multi-sector coordination to prevent and respond to epidemics in Côte d'Ivoire. While the LDP+ process is just beginning, participants like Lt. Colonel Lougue are enthusiastic about working together to achieve their measurable results, and motivation is high.