Historical Background of Hospital & Health-care Administration

The establishment of Health Care Administration as a profession is of paramount importance to improving the healthcare system in Ethiopia and on the African continent. Leaders with various capacities are needed in hospitals, health centers, and clinics to ensure that a systems-based approach is employed to maximize the efficiency, accessibility, and quality of healthcare services provided to the population. Until 2008, there were no graduate degree level programs to train healthcare administrators in Ethiopia, or the African continent.

Health care is one of the crucial components of basic social services that have a direct linkage to the growth and development of a country as well as to the welfare of a society. Effective planning and implementation of health services requires mobilization of the collective efforts of the relevant national and international organizations.

It was with this fundamental belief in mind that the Federal Ministry of Health   of Ethiopia requested the training of the Chief Executive Officers for public hospitals in the country through partnership forged between Yale University and the then William Jefferson Clinton Foundation’s HIV/AIDS Initiative (CHAI), now Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI).

In order to provide a focal point for practical training of hospital and health center administrators with adequate leadership skills, the Master of Healthcare  and Hospital Administration (MHA) degree program was proposed, as a collaborative effort among the Ethiopian Federal Ministry of Health, an Ethiopian higher education institution, Yale University and CHAI. Based on several factors including a history of excellence in academic training and innovative leadership capacities as well as its commitment to capacity building efforts of the country, Jimma University was selected to train hospital Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) which is the first of its kind in Ethiopia in 2008.

The MHA program at Jimma University is part of the larger Ethiopian Hospital Management Initiative (EHMI), which was launched in 2006 as a partnership between Yale, CHAI and the Ethiopian Ministry of Health. It is an important step forward in improving the quality of health care for the Ethiopian People. This groundbreaking program is a model for improving managerial and executive skills throughout our health system in general and hospital services in particular.

MHA is an intensive two-year executive program that combines academic preparation, practical application in the hospital setting and continuous mentoring by both the Jimma and Yale Universities facult.ies Jimma University faculty members work closely with Yale faculty to develop course curriculum and assist in classroom instruction, laying the groundwork for the long-term sustainability of the program.

The first batch of 25 CEOs graduated in April 2010 with MHA degree. Individual hospitals with CEOs in the program have already reported substantial improvements including reduced length of stay from 10 to 7 days and reduced post-surgical infection rates from 10% to 2%, highlighting greater efficiency and quality of care. The second batch of 30 CEOs is on the pipeline for graduation at the middle of 2011. Recently, another 30 CEOs are admitted to the program and have already completed the first block course of the program.