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Pioneering Aurum training programme earns doctor a global award

Pioneering Aurum training programme earns doctor a global award

Aurum’s Technical Director for Health and Pharmacy Services Dr Petra Kruger has won a Humentum Operational Excellence Award for developing the Management Development Programme (MDP), a training programme which helps primary healthcare managers gain practical skills in managing and running a facility.

Humentum is a global organisation that provides training, convening, and consulting support for member organizations and clients working in global relief and development. Humentum announced the winners of its 2020 Operational Excellence Awards on Tuesday 15 September during the online launch of its annual conference OpEx365. The Operational Excellence Awards recognise five individuals or teams who showcase innovation, collaboration, and collective and lasting impact through their inspiring work. Humentum established the award as it recognised that strong operations are a critical component of a thriving social sector. This year, there was a particular emphasis on teamwork, which is one of Aurum’s values and therefore only fitting that Kruger was one of the four individuals or teams globally, who was awarded for; “working together with their team to strengthen the vision of their organisation and capacity to succeed.” 


Commenting on the MDP’s success, Dr Dave Clark, Aurum Group Chief Operating Officer noted that the feedback from facility managers that had benefited from the programme had been overwhelmingly positive. “Several of these managers have gone on to earn accolades and acknowledgement from their supervisors and the public for the improvement in operational efficiencies and outputs in their clinics,” Clark added. This, he said, makes other interventions for the public health good, much more likely to be sustainable. “None of this would have been possible but for the tireless dedication and determination of Dr Kruger and her team, to make a lasting difference at a crucially neglected point in the health system,” said Clark.

Dr Kruger acknowledged the invaluable role played by her team in making the MDP a success.

“I may be the designer of the programme behind the scenes and worked in the field in the early years piloting it, but they are the ones on the front end implementing it. They interact with clinic managers and help them through their growth and development. Training them as trainers and just seeing the confidence they have, how they deal with each other with such love and respect and watching their development as individuals, that is where I get my gratification,” she said. 

Her gratitude also extended to Aurum as a whole, for making funding available and allowing her space to pursue this passion. This, she said, demonstrated that there is a belief that the programme was essential to the organisation’s mission of impacting global health.

No formal training

The programme was born out of Kruger’s own experience. “I’d been taught, for 7 years, to be a doctor. I found myself in management, but there was no formal training and when I went into public health sector, I saw the same thing. Nurses and doctors were promoted into management positions without being prepared,” she said. “They don’t know who to speak to if the clinic tap needs repairing, so what happens, nurses can’t wash their hands and they spread infection. More and more patients come away from the clinic with diarrhoea or if it was today, with COVID-19, because such a basic thing hasn’t been done by a manager who has no clue what to do,” said Kruger.

Formal courses are often very high level and abstract, and not practical and helpful to new managers. “We wanted to create a training programme for managers who are finding themselves in a situation where they have to provide good healthcare but don’t know how to beyond the area they are trained in. You have a nurse who goes from seeing one patient at a time, to being the manager responsible for creating a super clinic which can treat 200 at a time,” said Kruger. 

Congratulating her, Clark said the programme was pioneering, helping hundreds of clinical mangers expand their horizons. “We salute you, this award is absolutely deserved and just recognition for your passion and dedication improving the lives of others,” he said.

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