MEDICAL doctors have been implored to be professional in their conduct amidst indications that lack of management skills among medical doctors appears to be a major barrier to improving health throughout the world.
By Michael Gwarisa
Addressing medical doctors at the public health practitioners Leadership symposium in Harare, Fellow of the Faculty of Leadership and Management, Dr Brighton Chireka said in as much as there are challenges impeding the progression of medical practice in Zimbabwe, there was need for practitioners to adapt with times and act as servants to the patients.
“In the UK, the CIPD define ‘leadership’ as the ‘ability and capacity to lead and influence others, by means of personal attributes and/or behaviours, to achieve a common goal. All employees need to be leaders within the context of their operating level and organisational requirements.
“We need to understand that doctors are operating in an environment with less financial resources, hence the need for efficiency in order to achieve more with less resources.”
He added that the environment was changing and there also an evolution and changing of new disease patterns in the face of a more enlightened and more demanding population.
He also urged doctors to embrace technology advances for them to relate more with new trends in health.
“All these dynamics call for doctors and other health care workers to be good leaders, good managers with good transparent governance systems.
“Good medical leadership is vital for the delivery of high quality patient care, our medical education is failing to adequately reflect this. We are prepared to be good clinicians but not good leaders,” said Dr Chireka.
He added that recent research in UK and USA suggests that greater medical involvement at board level is associated with higher quality, which underlines the importance of medical directors.
“Medical directors, suitably equipped, are an essential part of a health service aspiring continuously to improve value and quality of care. Medical directors are often expected to take on a management role without the necessary tools, such as proper management training.”
Meanwhile, Dr Sunanda Ray, Professor Public Health Medicine UZCHS Department of Community Medicine urged practitioners to be objective, honest, and impartial in their practice.
“Leaders help themselves and others to do the right things. They set direction, build an inspiring vision, and create something new. Leadership is about mapping out where you need to go to “win” as a team or an organization; and it is dynamic, exciting, and inspiring.
“Doctors have a duty to monitor, protect and improve the health of populations. Good Public Health practice includes providing professional advice to others on emerging health issues, based on the best available evidence of information.”