A week in Cape Town with the Executive Programme for Global Health Leadership Fellows

The Executive Programme for Global Health Leadership has concluded in Cape Town with a rich diversity of speakers and workshops to round off what has been an incredibly rewarding year for the Fellows. The week was hosted by our partners at the University of Cape Town.

As with the two previous residential weeks held in London and Geneva respectively, this week focused on its own specific aspects of leadership management, specifically health systems and systems leadership, supporting Fellows with the insights and skills to successfully implement projects on the ground through cross-sector engagement.


Fellows in front of Table Mountain in Cape Town in June 2019


In addition to the thought-provoking discussions on complex adaptive systems, Fellows enjoyed site visits to health centres in the Western Cape Province, investigating challenges to provision of healthcare, and providing their insights to support those working to increase access. Fellows met senior health leaders and activists from across health sectors. Contributors included Dr Shaheem de Vries, Head Emergency Services of the Western Cape; Dr Keith Cloete, Chief Operating Officer of the Western Cape Provincial Department of Health; Dr Beth Englebrecht, Head of Health at the Western Cape Provincial Department of Health; Dr Ayanda Nstaluba, Group Executive Director at Discovery Limited and former DG of the South African Department of Health and Foreign Affairs; and Ms Mafubelu, Senior Fellow at the VUCA Institute for Leadership Development and former Assistant Director General at the WHO.


Fellows during a site visit at The Lady Michaelis Health Centre in the Western Cape Province


During these candid discussions, Fellows discussed the power of irrationality in the leadership journey and learned that “the more you fail, the more you learn”. Fellows also enjoyed thought-provoking peer-to-peer conversations, debating issues of equity in global health.

While this marks the end of the 10-month programme for this cohort of Fellows, it signals the beginning of the journey ahead, as they join the Executive Programme Fellowship and continue to collaborate on their respective work. We aim to offer the Fellowship a reunion symposium in 2020 to allow all Fellows across cohorts to link their valuable networks, while working together to develop a vision for the future shape of equity in global health leadership, capturing their collective perspectives and experience on how to influence and improve decision-making processes for the future.

Described by one Fellow as a “fantastic gathering of bright minds and people doing incredible work”, the Executive Programme for Global Health Leadership was developed to address the crucial need for strong, dynamic and resilient leadership in global health. According to one of our Fellows, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, Chief Executive Officer of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), “what has been great about the course is the combination of the theoretical concept of leadership and how to apply them, the real exposure to people with real leadership position in global health at the moment, together with an excellent group of classmates – we don’t have two people from the same country or background in our cohort. It has been a fantastic experience.”

Fellows with Daisy Mafubelu, Senior Fellow at the VUCA Institute for Leadership Development and former Assistant Director General at the WHO.

Applications for this programme are currently open for entry in September 2019. Please visit our webpage to find out more or contact us at


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