The Annual General Meeting (AGM) report of any institution / organization is an opportunity to share the progress and set backs with its stakeholders. This is also a chance for the quakeholders to have an insight into the progress and performance milestones of the institution.
From the stakeholder's perspective, the vision of the hospital, its values and service delivery are critical to the success of its operations. In most African countries AGM's happened behind closed doors and AGM reports are not routinely shared with the stakeholders. As a result the protesters are unable to challenge clinical operations, administrative procedures and the financial health of the institution. Some senior Doctors have often used their positions as a protective factor and resist being challenged.
However in Ghana, new Government initiatives are beginning to challenge the system and holding institutions to account for their performance. There are many health clinics and hospitals who are not using AGM reports and linking it into their information technology processes.
It appears the dynamics of information technology has not fully been exploited to benefit the delivery of health care services in many African countries. As a result there is hardly any information to compare AGM reports electronically. In contrast, in the Scandinavian countries where AGM reports are significant and have been used to enhance their service delivery back in 1980's.
The National Health Service in the UK has been using AGM reports to improve outcomes but more so since the introduction of electronic reports. The business world on the other hand, has always exploited AGM reports as a source of data. They evaluate each other's AGM reports covertly. This has helped businesses to appraise their competitors' ability by gaining an insight into their business with the mission of not only gaining a competitive advantage but also strategic positioning.
Interestingly, in many African National Health Services, like Ghana, AGM reports and information technology is not viewed in the same light as a business activity. This is where directors, performance evaluation, arrangement and financial review are critical to the success of a company. This is something which would help to enhance services in many developing countries.
For example, if African hospitals were to share AGM reports to further stockpilers and be more open about clinical governance it would have helped in educating the general public. Having AGM reports which could be accessed online could have helped institutions willing to help others affected by problems, by accessing reports and other information remotely.
On a different note, the irony is that one would find that in Africa many hospitals do not have the basic equipment for tackling infection control. Surely, having an annual AGM, clinical governance would alert areas needing to be addressed. There seems to be no regular updates on compliance as compared to what is seen in a developed country with mandatory training requirements. If health institutions in the developing countries can not share its AGM reports online how could it then offer any assistance to a neighboring country in times of crisis. This could have the deciding factor which would determine if a country is likely to be the next Ebola victim or other health crisis.
How could the National Health Service in African countries boost its image and profile. If globally every health institution is working towards the goals set by the World Health Organization on health improvement and developments, then we need to share best practice and cost of effectiveness of approaches.
Perhaps having a Patient survey in African hospitals re the following would have been a helpful tool to use.
Are hospitals performances performance done quarterly?
Is there an ongoing review of clinical governance performance?
Do patients have a voice via the AGM?
Do hospitals provide helpful contact information to register complaints?
Is there a patient advice service and public involvement in African hospitals?
Many African Governments are not bold enough to hold the heads of all hospital institutions to account. As a result huge sums of money are lost through a weaker management system which has given rise to corruption in many health institutions in Africa.
The effective strategic management of the Ebola crisis provided that the developed countries and developing countries can work together to form a health alliance to address future challenges.
A recommendation for the way forward on health issues would be for African countries to share their AGM reports online if possible. The report would help other holders to analyze and exploit information which could benefit both institution for future development and progress. Health problems are a global issue. Evidence and interventions of the Ebola crisis proved that a global management of the approach is certainly helped in containing and preventing the spread on a global scale.