Improving Teamwork and Health Service Delivery in the District Pharmacy

Rachel Msimuko was appointed as district pharmacist after a one-year pharmacy internship in Mkushi District in the Central Province of Zambia. Without any formal orientation in managerial and leadership skills, she was placed in a managerial position and tasked with overseeing the provision of pharmaceutical services and products for an entire district. The quality health service delivery in the district depended, in part, on the success of her management skills.

Rachel went through her first two years in day-to-day mode — attending to all problems as they came her way. This was stressful for her and her team.

The next year, Rachel participated in the Management Leadership Academy (MLA). She learned that most problems can be solved by identifying the root cause and dealing with them – allowing her to tackle multiple problems at once.

The ZMLA team at Musofu Rural Health Centre reviewing PMTCT data for the case study with health centre staff

Not everyone is a born leader, but after the MLA, Rachel is confident that leadership skills can be acquired. She now understands the importance of communicating her vision and getting buy-in from her colleagues, so the entire pharmacy department can work as a team.

Teamwork is, in fact, the most important lesson Rachel learned in MLA. She and the other group members from her cohort have shared the knowledge acquired in the MLA with their colleagues who didn’t attend the training. As a result, they have reported more effective meetings and active adherence to action plans.