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Leadership in public health 

Leadership in public health
Leadership in public health

Manuel M. Dayrit

and Maia Ambegaokar

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date: 16 May 2022

Imagine that tomorrow you were suddenly appointed into a prominent health leader position in your country—as a Director of Department or perhaps even Minister of Health. Upon taking office, you are presented with the following urgent dilemmas by your chief advisers:

We are suffering perennial outbreaks of water-borne diarrhoea in the urban slums of our largest city, caused by the illegal tapping of water lines. How can we prevent this in both the short and long terms?

Other departments are preventing us enacting any measures to stop smoking in public places. How can we convince them to collaborate on this critical health issue?

How can we take steps to provide anti-retrovirals for the tens of thousands of our citizens suffering from HIV/AIDS?

Our government is in moral opposition to abortion, despite scientific evidence showing that decriminalizing abortion prevents maternal deaths from sepsis. Illegal abortion is high in our country. What action should we take?

How would you proceed to address these issues? Would you be able to think on your feet and respond promptly and effectively to the health needs of your populace? In other words, are you capable of being a public health leader?

These questions are examined below as we explore the nature of leadership and the possibility of learning it.

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