Leadership plays an important role in public health. Though the concept of leadership is very
old, its effectiveness still assists to bring desired changes and development in the public health
system . Effective public health leadership helps to visualize the present and future context of
public health, set goals accordingly and strive to achieve the predetermined goals. Effective
leadership has always been an important aspect in public health to tackle health inequalities,
address emerging public health challenges with limited resources and attain progress in the field.
For effective public health leadership, an individual should attain the competencies and skills
required for being a strong and effective leader.
● have potential to lead members towards organizational goals. He/She should be adept at
communicating with individuals and groups.
● assure that team members are clear about their roles and responsibilities and direct them
to work in a coordinated manner.
● be able to motivate team members to vigorously pursue preset objectives to enhance the
health and well-being of the community.
● admire as well as encourage good performance and act efficiently to address the poor
performance of team members.
● ensure that every voice of team members is heard and acted upon to promote active
participation and involvement of all the team members.
The Public Health system needs leaders who can assist their team members understand and
accept the latest innovations that improve health service delivery. Leaders with conceptual skills
strengthen the trust and confidence within the team. Leaders should focus on building networks
that enable them to achieve goals that cannot be achieved independently.
Public Health Leaders should always be updated with the present health situation to have a better
understanding of public health issues. It will help them to solve the existing public health
problems, ensuring the required resources are made available to function effectively and
efficiently in achieving goals. Leaders in public health should emphasize on improvement of
health infrastructure, alleviate community based inequalities and address various health needs
and demands of the public. They should also implement necessary health interventions and
develop evaluating systems to determine if health interventions are continued and are producing
desired health outcomes. An extraversion attitude to communicate, coordinate and collaborate
with interdisciplinary areas is vital in order to exercise leadership in public health. Being
innovative, visionary and having passion for change is key for public health leaders to use their
intelligence and networks to make effective decisions for the betterment of the health system.
Amidst all complications, public health leaders develop adaptable strategies in an evolving
environment with the aim of improving health and well being of Public.
Present Context of Public Health Leadership
The Public Health sector demands responsible public health leadership. Due to ineffective
leadership, the health system and health of the people is being affected. There seems to be a gap
in understanding Public Health Leadership. Public Health Leadership is not well defined yet
though the leadership is a widely known concept. Lack of models and theories related to public
health leadership leads to hindrance in developing leadership. A theory/model of leadership that
worked in one situation may not be applicable for another situation .Theories and models of
public health leadership are also inadequate which focus on developing leadership. In the
present context, globalization and the economic crisis seems to have created hindrances to public
health leaders in carrying out public health functions effectively and efficiently.
In addition, the position holds the major power to demonstrate the leadership in the context of
Nepal so there is striving for a vital position. Marginalized groups are deprived of education,
resources and opportunities but in the present situation there seems to be a notable improvement
of the marginalized community in leadership. Beside this, gender discrimination also seems
prominent as the number of female public health officials are far lesser than their male
counterparts in leadership. In Spite of all these hindrances public health leadership seems
emerging and expanding in the present context but it is not getting sufficient recognition and
responsibility which is convinced by the recent pandemic. Covid-19 crisis management centers
are led by ministers and security personnel where it is to be led by the health professionals and
public health leaders.
Strategies for Effective Public Health Leadership
Necessary strategies should be developed for effective Public Health Leadership. Some of the
key strategies can be highlighted as below:
❖ Public health schools have to equip their students with necessary tools and resources
they need to become effective leaders by focusing on training students with the skills and
expertise to execute public health leadership.
❖ Public health organizations should prioritize developing leadership capacity at every
❖ Provide opportunities and new insights to health leadership to guarantee a better public
❖ Improvements in the essential knowledge, skills, innovation, guidance and support from
various organizations in developing leadership
❖ Develop innovative priorities for action in leaders in times of disease outbreaks and crisis
❖ Build up dedication and commitment among leaders to perform effective leadership
❖ Emphasize on the self progress by leaders
❖ Develop more models and theories focusing on Public Health Leadership
❖ Identify competencies required for effective leaders and support individual leadership
Effective leadership is of utmost necessity to coordinate the measures towards prevention of
disease, promotion of health and prolongation of life. Building leadership potential from the very
initial level drives to get effective leadership with time that can cope with uncertain challenges
and attain predetermined health goals for the betterment of public health. Public health
leadership programmes in developing effective leadership in the public health system should be
emphasized. For strong and effective leadership, there must be clear objectives, specific
strategies and a better vision conducive for a better future of public health. To sum up,
developing strong and effective leadership in public health at every level should be the topmost