Spark Health seeks to strengthen health systems and improve health outcomes in Africa by leveraging existing resources - both human and financial - and igniting the power of public health managers to drive their own systems of change through a transformational leadership approach.
Since 2011, we have been collecting important insights into what makes our philosophy effective in; (i) effecting a cultural shift that sees healthcare managers creating strong, robust and effective teams, (ii) integration of parallel efforts into more coherent and effective service delivery strategies, (iii) enabling Ministry of Health managers to coordinate partner support for better and efficient resource utilization, (iv) creating a culture where data is used to make effective decisions in designing strategic solutions to healthcare problems and performance management, and (v) supporting the development of a culture where ownership of initiatives aimed at improving services delivery and accountability are vested within the Ministry of Health leadership and management as opposed to the perennial partner-led efforts.
We have also witnessed the sharing of best practices among Ministry of Health managers, allowing the short-circuiting of the learning curve, resulting in less effort and resources required to achieve better health outcomes. Through the development of transformational leadership skills and competencies, we have supported Ministry of Health managers to become adept at not only owning results of their efforts, but also effectively communicating those results, with a clear understanding of the problem areas, root causes of the problems, strategies that they applied to address those root causes, what success looks like (through dashboard indicators) and the key lessons learned. They have demonstrated the ability to apply the key lessons learned to other problem areas within the PMTCT/HIV space, as well as to other diseases areas.
Finally, the Ministry of Health managers that we have trained and mentored have demonstrated the ability to integrate other stakeholders (both Ministry of Health managers and non-Ministry of Health managers; internal and external) to develop a multi-faceted approach to problem solving, which brings holistic strategies to root causes of healthcare problems. Our experience over the years has revealed one central insight that is apparent in the successes of all our work – the role of leadership. However, this is not just ordinary leadership, but transformational leadership, that inspires, generates, infuses and propagates culture change which strengthens the healthcare system.
Through deep partnership and an asset-based model, we work to unleash the capacity of Ministry of Health teams to identify, analyze, and resolve barriers to quality health care. We work directly with African governments in countries and regions striving to achieve key health targets, such as eliminating mother-to-child transmission of HIV and reducing child and maternal mortality.
Spark Health’s theory of change is based on the belief that cultural transformation, and specifically the transformation of teams to more effective, engaged, accountable teams, leads to critical changes in how things are done within a health system. This leads to more effective health system processes.
Improved and enhanced operational processes lead to better health outcomes and ultimately drive improved health impact at the highest level, including the achievement of MDG and SDG goals such as zero mother to child transmission of HIV and an HIV-free generation.
Click here for a more detailed view of Spark Health’s model for change.
We also believe that providing skills training is not enough – whether clinical, operational or managerial. Training must be coupled and supported with active mentorship – mentorship that occurs over time and with a level of structure and consistency that allows individuals and teams the opportunity to experience, learn, make mistakes and innovate, together. With this comes the discovery of new solutions to service delivery challenges, new ways of working together as a team, and improved ways of getting work done.
Our goal at Spark Health is to spark and support the cultural transformation of teams to create their own systems of change for an HIV-free generation.
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