“Currently, we’re seeing the significance of healthcare management,” considers Benita Gwaneza. “Coronavirus has exposed the gaps in healthcare and really emphasized the importance of prevention.”
Recently, Kepler-Southern New Hampshire University graduates Benita Gwaneza and Joella Ingabire reflected on the global health climate with us. Both studied Healthcare Management with concentrations in Global Perspectives while at Kepler, and they now work at Health Builders, a local NGO dedicated to strengthening health systems and building facilities where access is limited.
“Healthcare management is about access to health services, like eye or dental care,” explains Benita. “And to access services, we need to be clear and well-organized, so that it’s easy for a
patient to seek timely services, meet their doctor, or make an appointment. It’s all about facilitating the process.”
Their work is particularly timely, considering the COVID-19 global pandemic. “Through healthcare management, we can help healthcare professionals manage outbreaks and diseases, particularly through preventative – but also curative – measures. We can focus on policies and strategies to manage outbreaks.”
At Health Builders, for example, infection prevention and control is part of the daily work. The organization conducts training and mentorship at primary health centers in Rulindo, Nyabihu, and Rwamagana Districts to build capacity and enrich skills. “It’s been a good opportunity for us to demonstrate the importance of details.”
“For example, we don’t give hygiene much thought, but this pandemic has shown us that the little things we ignore in healthcare provision can be the incubator of bigger problems. Through healthcare management, we put strength in the details.”
But here’s the twist: healthcare management isn’t just an organizational or company effort. It’s also a personal endeavor, spearheaded by passionate individuals. Joella and Benita both embody this spirit. Joella emphasizes, “As someone in the industry, I’m leading by example and showing people how to act accordingly. We have a long way to go, and we each need to follow the guidelines set by the government. Wear a mask, wash your hands, and work from home if possible. It’s about protecting our family and friends.”
“For me, healthcare management is a passion,”
Joella eluciates, “I don’t know how else to describe it. I’ve observed and been affected by mistakes in the healthcare sector, and I feel like maybe I can be part of the change across African countries.”
Both women see education as a pathway to strong health systems. Education opportunities in healthcare management, for example, can lead to positive systemic changes in the industry, points out Joella.
“In my future, I want to share the opportunities I had,” Benita considers. “I had the opportunity for a good education, and I want to pass that along to the next generation, to set the path to healthy lives and opportunity for others.”