CHEPSAA Emerging Leaders present at conference in Thailand

The work of the Consortium for Health Policy and Systems Analysis in Africa (CHEPSAA) to define and build core competencies for health policy and systems researchers and educators in Africa will this week be featured in Pattaya, Thailand through a poster presentation at the Prince Mahidol Award Conference.


The poster, entitled Core competencies for health policy and systems researchers and educators in Africa: development and curriculum design, was developed by Nonhlanhla Nxumalo (middle), Marsha Orgill (left) and Lucy Gilson. Nonhlanhla works at the Centre for Health Policy, University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, while Marsha and Lucy are with the Health Policy and Systems Division, University of Cape Town.


CHEPSAA, a European Union-funded consortium of African and European universities, is a partnership whose overall purpose is to increase African capacity to produce and use high-quality health policy and systems research and analysis (HPSR+A). Among CHEPSAA’s specific objectives are the development of African HPSR+A educators and researchers, as well as strengthening the development of courses provided to a range of professionals for the primary purpose of strengthening health systems.

The poster highlights a process that CHEPSAA embarked on to develop, through consultation and the involvement of a range of experts, a set of core competencies and capabilities for HPSR+A educators and researchers. The set of core capabilities and competencies that were developed formed an important input into the first capacity development workshop of the CHEPSAA Emerging Leaders Programme.

The Emerging Leaders Programme, which kicked of in July 2013, is a capacity development programme that aims to contribute to building a critical mass of future leaders who are committed to working in this field in Africa and equipped with the necessary skills and capabilities. It will run for about 2 years and include two rounds of capacity development workshops, mentoring during the workshops and in the periods between workshops, and hopefully also participation in the 3rd Global Symposium on Health Systems Research, which will be held in Cape Town in 2014. Twenty-six people, including Nonhlanhla and Marsha, from Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania and Ghana are participating in the programme.

The poster also includes participants’ reflections on this first capacity development workshop of the Emerging Leaders Programme. One of the key lessons was that capacity-building focusing on leadership needs a balance between the individual technical skills / competencies required to flourish in the HPSR+A field and the collective ‘soft skills’ that enable relationships.

In future, the set of core capabilities and competencies developed will be used to structure the remaining part of the Emerging Leaders Programme, as well as to inform the development of open-access Master’s-level courses by CHEPSAA and a scoping exercise for an African doctorate degree in public health that CHEPSAA plans to undertake.

Click here to view the full poster.