Photos: Inaugural Operational Excellence meeting, Amsterdam

13 December, 2018 | Global Partnership for Zero Leprosy

 Managers from national leprosy programmes, along with representatives from ILEP organizations, are directing the upcoming efforts of the Operational Excellence working group.  They travelled from afar to participate in the inaugural Operational Excellence meeting, held 6-7 December in Amsterdam.

Amsterdam, 6 and 7 December 2018

Amsterdam, 6 and 7 December 2018

It is winter in the Netherlands, and the weather is wet and stormy. Ten people from Benin, Brazil, Ethiopia, Morocco, Nepal, Sri Lanka and the United Kingdom are traveling from afar to attend the inaugural meeting of the Operational Excellence steering team in Amsterdam.

Leaders from national leprosy programmes

Leaders from national leprosy programmes

The group who traveled to Amsterdam represent the steering team, or the leaders of the Operational Excellence sub-groups. The chairs of the sub-groups are from national leprosy programmes. Pictured here is Dr. Taye Letta from the national leprosy programme in Ethiopia. Dr. Letta is also on the partnership’s leadership team.

Planning and preparation

Planning and preparation

Day 1: In small groups, the steering team discussed the many tasks ahead. The group will develop online tools that can help countries reduce leprosy and stigma, and will also offer support through a help desk. Working closely with the World Health Organization, this working group will also conduct peer-to-peer country assessments, and help countries develop visioning roadmaps to zero leprosy.

WHO’s involvement

WHO’s involvement

During the meeting, Erwin Cooreman and Rao Pemmaraju from the WHO Global Leprosy Programme gave a virtual presentation about the Global Leprosy Strategy and plans beyond. As key partners, they emphasized the importance to work together to build national capacity through aligned efforts. One example will be the collaboration between WHO and the Operational Excellence Working Group to conduct country assessments.

Enjoying dinner at China Sea Palace

Enjoying dinner at China Sea Palace

After a long day’s work, the group enjoyed a boat ride on Amsterdam’s canals and afterward, a delicious dinner at the culinary China Sea Palace, a floating restaurant in the heart of Amsterdam. Dr. Ibtissam Khoudri (Morocco) is pictured with Dr. Rabindra Baskota (Nepal).

Starry Starry Lights

Starry Starry Lights

After a hard day’s work, a boat ride led the team through the decorated canals of Amsterdam’s light festival. This annual event shows light art made by a wide range of international artists.

Timeframes, achievements and challenges

Timeframes, achievements and challenges

Day 2: Members of the steering team debated about the various tasks and the way to operationalize all the upcoming tasks in 2019. They also discussed the timeframe, expected achievements and challenges the individual members anticipate. Guillermo Robert de Arquer (Lepra, UK) leads the discussion here.

All smiles

All smiles

After two days of intense planning, the Operational Excellence steering team is enthusiastic about the work ahead. The sub-groups with all the participants will launch in early 2019. The open call for the Operational Excellence working group remains open through 31 December.