The College of Health Sciences is an amalgamation of various institutions within the University of Ghana that train health professionals. The College is currently made up of the following institutions: University of Ghana Medical School, University of Ghana Dental School, University of Ghana School of Pharmacy, School of Public Health, School of Nursing, School of Allied Health Sciences and Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research. The majority of its constituent institutions have established for themselves enviable reputations as premier centers for the development of professionals in various health disciplines. These centers have retained their pre-eminence through high standards of academic excellence and an intensive practical orientation. The range of medical training available through the College has been extended with the establishment of some new and modern centers of excellence to complement the traditional teaching resources available. The College is seeking to build on the successes of its constituent Institutions to enhance the quality of its outputs by capitalizing on the synergies arising from the diverse but complimentary areas of expertise that it has. It is the quest to achieve this that necessitated the definition of a strategic plan that clearly lays out the path to its development and growth. This document which constitutes the second strategic plan of the College, details the main decisions made regarding the College’s approach to its raison d’être and the strategies identified as being critical to the successful establishment of a world class College of Health Sciences.
In essence, this plan based on conclusions reached at two strategic planning workshops addresses the strategic imperatives that the College must integrate into its processes, both productive and administrative to maintain and enhance the position of prominence of its constituent institutions. It identifies the key issues that its strategies should address through an in-depth analysis of all parameters that have an implication for its internal capacities, its operating environment, its organizational culture and its aspirations. In support of its strategic objectives, specific actions are outlined of projects to be executed by its various institutions and component units. All these are focused on realizing the statement of the College’s Mission, its Vision and its Core Values. The over-riding and highest ambition of the College of Health Sciences is the determination to attain academic and professional excellence.
THE BROAD PROCESS FOR DEVELOPING THE STRATEGY
Following the launch and the implementation of the last strategy, the College used a unique Strategy Developing Model and Process designed to assist the Executive Committee to review the implementation and impact of the strategy, develop the next strategy and agree on the Key Decisions/Actions required to deliver the strategy. There were 2 joint Workshops involving the top leadership of all schools and institutions that make up the College and various meetings with individuals in the College. The outcomes from each of the Workshops and meetings informed the development of the Strategy and the Actions and Plans required for implementation.
The Template for Developing the Strategy
It is expected that each constituent unit of the College will develop detailed work plans based on the key actions in the strategic document. Strategic Planning Monitoring and Evaluation teams both at the College and School/Institute levels will be established to regularly review progress made with regard to implementation of the Strategic Plan.
THE REVIEW OF THE LAST STRATEGY
The implementation and the impact of the last strategy were reviewed by the Executive Committee of the College of Health Sciences which is made up of the Heads of the schools and institutions under the College. The implementation and impact of the last strategy was mixed. Though the review showed some achievements from the individual schools and institutions under the College, the implementation at the corporate level was rated as low. The overall performance of the College, together with the schools and institutions under it, was below expectation.
The role of the College in the implementation of the strategy was not clear and its authority was undermined by the lack of cohesion. Many of the schools and institutions under the College continued to operate as independent bodies and in some cases their actions and activities were not in line with the corporate strategy.
The number of Strategic Thrusts (12 of them) and their related key actions were seen as too many. They required a lot more resources to implement at a time when resources were limited and needed to be focussed to deliver the best impact.
THE CURRENT SITUATION
The College of Health Sciences has to a large extent not started operating as a single corporate body. Firstly, the Vision that was developed and validated in 2003 is not shared and owned by the schools and institutions that make up the College. Secondly, the Governance structure of the College via-a-vis the University has inherent conflicts of roles and authority. It is sometimes not clear who has authority to make what decisions. As a result the Top Leadership and the Executive Committee of the College, found it difficult in confronting and resolving the challenges that face the College with a united front.
There is little sense of belonging between the schools and the institutions that make up the College of Health Sciences and the Executive Committee of the College agreed that it is critical for the long term success of the College for it to operate as a single organisation with one vision, one purpose and with one corporate strategic agenda. This was a key element in the development of the corporate strategy for the College for 2011 to 2015.
THE PRINCIPLES UNDERPINNING THE STRATEGY
• Creating a shared ownership of the Vision and Mission of the College by utilizing strengths of its constituents,
• Developing an operating framework that enables the College to live its Mission,
• Clearly defining the Governance Structure of the College within the University with an enabling operating framework and a set of authority schedules,
• Creating the right kind of Organisational Infrastructure,
• Attracting and maintaining high calibre of Staff,
• Clear acceptable values and behaviors,
• The over-arching ambition is to achieve financial autonomy, academic and professional excellence.
• Bringing good health, comfort and happiness to people
• To produce highly qualified and competent health professionals and medical scientists to provide promotive, preventive and curative services to meet the health needs of the nation and the global community through world class excellence in teaching, research and dissemination of knowledge.
The Strategic Imperatives
• Promote academic excellence in University of Ghana/College of health Sciences through teaching and learning and leadership training.
• Promote academic excellence in University of Ghana/College of Health Sciences through increased output of high quality research and extension services.
• Establish Human Resource Management framework that professionalizes, inspires and motivates the organization.
• Expand and modernize Infrastructure/ensure better management of University/College assets and facilities.
• Empower the College financially/Enhance fundraising efforts at all levels of the University/College in order to secure financial sustainability.
• Enter new activities to compete for growth
• Scale up efforts towards equal opportunity in gender diversity.
• Mainstream monitoring and evaluation in all University/College activities and operations
• Visionary leadership
• College-wide ownership of vision and strategy
• Commitment to achieving set goals at all levels
• Change in mind set about College concept
• Performance - based and fair reward system
• Professional Business planning and appropriate Budgeting processes
• Availability of funds, enabling research environment and technical expertise
• Regular monitoring and evaluation system
• Good and realistic action plan
• Continuous enhancement of skills, competence and capabilities of human capital.
• Ownership with responsibility
• Commitment to the achievement of College Goals
• Transparency in governance
• Aggressive Business Culture
• Prompt and open communication
• Acceptance/Adoption of College concept.
THE STRATEGIC OUTCOMES
• A Liberated College
• “One” College
• Financial independence
• Attractive to the best people
The Strategic Framework for the College of Health Sciences
FURTHER STEPS TO BE UNDERTAKEN
A number of key steps have to be undertaken by the College and its constituent units to complete the strategic planning process. These steps have to be initiated within three months after the strategic plan document has been approved by Council.
For the College’s core objectives to be achieved, there must be a departmental strategy which focuses on activity at the departmental/faculty/school level. As indicated in the first strategic document of the College, “Each department’s strategy must respond to the demands arising out of the corporate strategies and the requirements arising out of its own environments and internal analyses. The statement of departmental strategic intent will be in the form of broad and specific action programs for each department and must be supported by budgets, measures of performance and clear responsibilities”. The various functional units (administration, finance, public relations etc.) must also undertake similar exercise to determine functional strategy.
Budgeting at all levels must also be done. The resources needed to implement the corporate strategic plan have to be identified. A comprehensive and coordinated plan expressed in financial terms for the projects, initiatives, operations and resources of the College must be developed. This strategic budget must take into account all of the activities and facets of the full strategic plan (i.e. including faculty and functional strategy)
It is important that progress towards the realization of the College’s vision should be assessed on a periodic basis. It is recommended that a process of quarterly reviews be established to ensure that aims and goals as stipulated in this document are still pertinent to the prevailing situation. A College-wide Strategic Planning Monitoring and Evaluation Committee should be set up for this purpose