Maysar Mansoor, general-director of Qalqilya Hospital, walks through the hallways greeting staff. She knows the names of all of her employees, from the janitor to the heart physician, and is always accessible. The 38-year-old director is young for her position, but then she is pushing the standards of hospital management to a whole new level.
Maysar is the first non-physician to administer a Ministry of Health hospital in the West Bank and the first woman to hold that post — a sign of reform itself. This shows the vision of the minister of health, overcoming a long-standing regional tradition in medicine to appoint physicians as administrators of hospitals as opposed to specialists in administration.
Since her student days at Jordan University, Maysar knew she wanted to work in hospital administration. Graduating at the top of her class, she returned to the West Bank and labored to find employment. Years of volunteering pushed her into mundane tasks such as archiving, and try as she might in the early days, she could not get near an administration post. “I credit that period of struggle with teaching me about health care from the bottom floor up, and kept my goal of really being able to make a quality difference in hospitals — within the administration,” she said. Working her way up the hospital administration ladder for years finally paid off; she was recognized as the right person for the job.
An ambitious partnership between USAID and the Palestinian Ministry of Health
is strengthening the capacity of managers and administrators to make informed, evidence-based decisions using improved administrative, management, and financial management systems. In addition, through their Leadership Development Program the project and the ministry are developing the skills of ministry staff like Maysar to be leaders for change and reform.
As part of the reform spirit sweeping through the ministry, it promoted decentralization by kick-starting the first of a series of pilots in hospitals across the West Bank. Maysar is one of the new leaders whose hospital was identified for a pilot project to upgrade hospital administration capacity with the provision of information and financial reform tools. Implementation of the national health information system at Qalqilya acts as an essential mechanism for gathering accurate data and empower decision-makers like Maysar with a tool for reform, ensuring efficiency and effectiveness in high-quality care.
The ministry took on overly centralized systems as the main health provider that depends almost entirely on funding from the donor community. The pilot is the start of systems reform to improve the health status, provide financial protection and ensure equity in health care access for Palestinians. The long-term plan enables Qalqilya Hospital to be financially independent under a decentralized system.
“As a director, I can simplify procedures for patients to better serve our beneficiaries,” Maysar said. “This is what hospital management is really about, and with financial independence comes the freedom to enact cost-effective measures.”
With the appointment of administrators like Maysar, the Health Ministry continues to build leaders for change and reform from within, ensuring the momentum for institutional capacity reform does not die.