As part of our work with Johnson & Johnson (J&J) on the Management Development Institute (MDI) for healthcare professionals, we are expanding the program to Lusophone Africa with GBSN member school Nova School of Business and Economics as the implementing partner. I had the opportunity to travel to Maputo, Mozambique for a week with our partners from J&J and Nova School of Business and Economics and was amazed by the level of commitment of the international development community on-the-ground as well as the welcoming atmosphere of Maputo.
Mozambique remains one of the poorest and most underdeveloped countries in the world. Despite rapid economic growth over the last decade, the country is still heavily reliant on aid funding. This is quite evident when you are walking or driving around Maputo because every bilateral and multilateral aid agency has a presence in the country. To me, Maputo had a very unique and diverse culture because of the large expat presence.
Meeting with key health sector stakeholders made it quite evident that Mozambique has made some large strides within health, but there is still a long ways to go. Mozambique faces severe health problems including low life expectancy rates, high infant mortality rates, a high prevalence of HIV/AIDS, chronic child malnutrition and a high malaria risk. The health sector struggles to improve access to health services and distribution of basic services and resources throughout the country. It’s great that J&J is committed to expanding the reach of the leadership and management training Lusophone Africa as the need is quite high for these skill sets.
One thing that struck me during my visit was how much more developed Maputo was than I had imagined. I mentioned this to another colleague who reminded me that I am only seeing the “nice” parts of the country. As I continue to learn and experience Africa, this is something that I will always remember. What I experience is not what the people who live there experience everyday. As we go about the development of this project, I believe this is important to remember. We need to bring the Mozambican experience to the course by engaging local facilitators and guest speakers and using local case studies as examples throughout the modules.
Highlights of my visit included:
- Visiting the Manhica Health Research Center (Centro de Investigao em Sade de Manhia, CISM) and neighboring district hospital. I was impressed with how much work is being done at the center and with the high-quality staff working to improve health throughout Mozambique.
- Meeting the Portuguese Ambassador Maria Amlia Paiva. Even though Mozambique fought for independence in the 1970s from the Portuguese, there is a strong commitment from the Portuguese government to support economic development in Mozambique.
- Solidifying the support of the Ministry of Health, Universidade Eduardo Mondlane and NGOs for the MDI. J&J has identified a very strong need for leadership and management training of health professionals, and the local decision makers and experts agree that this is a welcome initiative. It made me feel proud to work on a program that will make a huge difference to the health sector.
Stephanie Blochinger is the Programs Officer at the Global Business School Network