Interview. Dr Peter Ntege is a healthcare practitioner, specialising as a Public Health Medicine specialist. Dr Ntege is the outgoing Chief Operating Officer at International Hospital Kampala. He shares about the experience of being a manager in a crisis. He is one of those people who decided to make the best of a bad situation and he says this attitude brought out the best in him.
How would you describe your experience as a corporate manager during the pandemic?
I did a lot of learning, unlearning, teaching, mentoring and sharing. It has been a roller coaster and the most hectic 18 months of my career. I learnt that the management of a pandemic and related crises in a corporate environment more often brings out the best in people.
I felt privileged to be in management at this time because it equiped me with experiential skills that would have taken me decades to acquire.
What are the greatest accomplishments in your career?
By far, my biggest success is the quality and passion of the senior management and middle management teams.
What are your personal goals and how did these align with your job?
I am a healthcare management specialist and I intend to do this beyond the boundaries of East Africa.
There is no healthcare institution in Uganda that could have given me a better platform to express my skill, make a significant contribution, and learn as much as I have learnt than International Hospital Kampala.
What has been your biggest challenge so far?
This is tricky to choose but again I do not think anything beats Covid 19.
The strain on our financial resources, psychosocial, health, and security concerns for our staff, the pressures related to the cost of care and the related scapegoating on private hospitals by government, media, and the general public, the hundreds of millions of unpaid bills, the unusual high death rate, the denial regarding the cause of death by families and the related accusations of connivance with the state to eliminate its opponents. Covid -19 has been a nightmare.
When would you say was a major turning point in your career?
I think my career has been and is still an interesting one but when I was appointed Business Development Manager at AAR Healthcare, Uganda, this was the turning point. I got the platform I needed to express my skill and make a contribution that directly impacted the company performance.This shaped my managerial skills that I have used everywhere I have worked.
Prior to joining IMG, I worked for AAR Healthcare Uganda as the head of clinical operations and business development, I also worked for KCCA, Mildmay Uganda, and Mulago Hospital as a medical doctor.
What would you consider your management skills to be?
It is delusional for any executive to think they can manage an institution as big as IHK alone. It does not matter how skilled or talented one is, you have to build the competence of your team and empower it to execute on your behalf.
This is the only effective and sustainable way and it is my way. You may micromanage some critical projects and some critical elements of change, but not everything.
How have you contributed to the bottom-line growth in previous companies you have worked with?
I cannot talk about bottom line to the public, it is only attractive to shareholders, and the public wants quality at the lowest cost. I have worked at Mildmay, KCCA, and AAR.
I started my management journey at AAR Uganda and that company turned my career path around. With the team at AAR, we surely turned around the company fortunes between 2016 and 2018. . We conducted a major restructuring of the company to a sustainable workforce model, and expanded the clinic network.