Hospice management teams from across the country met in Nairobi for a leadership and governance workshop to deliberate on how to strengthen the organisations that they lead.

With facilitation from the Country Director of University Research Co., LLC-Center for Human Services, Chief of Party USAID|ASSIST and Founder/former Executive Director at African Palliative Care Association Dr Faith Mwangi-Powell, the two day workshop organised by Kenya Hospices and Palliative Care Association (KEHPCA) aims at bringing together and strengthening the leadership of hospices for better service delivery to patients with life threatening illnesses.

Dr Powell said that the leaders need to learn on how to put in place proper structures to guide their activities to success.

“Most hospices have challenges in governance and leadership due to limited knowledge on leadership within their governing structures,” she said.

With limited resources, Dr Powell said that the management teams need to share among themselves on what has worked for others to learn.

“We need to cross pollinate and ensure people learn from one another so that we can learn through sharing and learn from our failures,” she said.

Dr Powell added that most hospices look forward to KEHPCA for support without knowing that they have something they can give to the association.

“The hospices need to ask themselves what they can bring on board. When this is brought together, we are able to gain much,” she said.

She said that hospices should take advantage of the new government system in Kenya and reach out to leaders in their counties for support, not necessarily financially but also on their governance at the grass root level.

KEHPCA Executive Director Dr Zipporah Ali said that the association planned for this workshop after realizing the gaps in member hospices.

“I hope that this workshop will help strengthen governance, leadership and management gaps in our hospices,” Dr Ali said.

Kakamega Hospice Board Vice Chair Akwabi Maloba said that the workshop is long overdue, realizing that most people have little knowledge about leadership.

He said that most hospice leadership has experienced conflict of interests where leaders form niches and run organisations unprofessionally expecting results.

“We are dealing with teams that are ‘disconnect’ yet they have functions and a mandate to deliver,” said Maloba.

He said that the Chief Executive Officers expects too much from the Board and vice versa adding that such meetings should have come much earlier and even have follow-up structures as leaders need to be given direction.

“With trainings like this, we will be able to harmonize our functions within the organisations we lead. This workshop is a plus and an eye opener as it is enabling us to be more responsible especially during leadership transitions. Things are getting clearer,” he said.

Gladys Mucee from Meru Hospice indicated that most leaders shy away from challenging the founders of their organisations as they find it tricky.

Meru Hospice board member Silas Murianki indicated that guidelines from the national association would enable founders understand such situations.

“Such leaders should know that there are times one may sit tight and not let the kids grow,” he said.

Some of the topics covered at the workshop include Good Governance and Management Styles, where and when to apply them and when and where not to.