CCBRT Hosts Tanzania's First Lean Conference

|   Innovation

Since 2011, CCBRT has been engaged in developing a lean management culture throughout the organisation: a system of management focussed on creating more value for patients by using fewer resources and eliminating waste. With support from our partners HDIF, a UKaid investment in innovation in Tanzania, CCBRT recently made structural and organisational improvements to our Eye OPD based on lean principles.

In order to share the lessons learned and hear expert perspectives on lean, over 2 days, CCBRT welcomed stakeholders from across the business, NGO and health communities in Tanzania, to a special conference titled, ‘Lean Management: an Innovative Approach to Healthcare Management in Tanzania’. Featuring international lean experts, John Allen and Anton Grütter, the conference sought to increase participants’ knowledge of the lean approach and offer a space for exchange of ideas on how the approach could be applied in Tanzania, with particular focus on healthcare settings.

Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Health, Dr Mpoki Ulisubisiya, opened the conference by welcoming engagement with lean ideas at a time of pressure in the Tanzanian health system, where making the most of resources available to ensure maximum value to the patient is paramount.

Anton Grütter, CEO of the Lean Institute Africa, and John Allen, Founder and Chairman of Total Systems Development and a renowned author on lean practices, introduced the principles of lean management – including working smarter, rather than harder, and encouraging leaders to physically go and see work processes in action and ask questions. Participants heard about the ’10 commandments of lean’, including: disclosing mistakes, basing problem solving on facts rather than assumptions, and always aiming to continuously improve.

Delegates put questions to a panel, including a representative from the Ministry of Health, the two lean speakers, CCBRT CEO Erwin Telemans and Joseph Mairakiza from HDIF; before moving into games and workshops on day 2 to put their new knowledge into action. The conclusion was clear: that lean techniques were very applicable to Tanzania healthcare, from the lowest levels to the top. As long as leadership is open to lean, and people are inspired, then it can apply in any context.