Interview conducted and reviewed by Nitin Bhandari, Deployment Manager. Pictured above, Manoj Khadka at our full team meetup in Diani, Kenya.
At Medic, Senior Project Managers implement and manage deployments and partnerships alongside key partners including government health systems and INGOs. They provide support, meet deliverables, and assist with project deployments. They also participate in project stakeholder meetings, manage and facilitate deployment logistics, and manage timelines while continuously engaging partners and users to gather feedback.
Manoj joined Medic in our Nepal office back in 2015 as a mHealth Project Officer for Baglung District, and currently works as Senior Project Manager. He was the third team member to be brought on to support our projects alongside the Nepal Ministry of Health (MoH). He initially managed our Baglung project, a pilot district with a deployment of 950 Female Community Health Volunteers (FCHVs). Before joining Medic he worked for both government and non-government agencies in Nepal including a youth-led non-profit NGO, the National Health Training Centre, MoHP, Development Activist Nepal, South Asian Institute for Policy Analysis and Leadership (SAIPAL), and Nepal Environment and Education Development Society (NEEDS), Kanchanpur.
We interviewed Manoj last week to learn more about his interest in the field and his work with Medic. Here’s what he had to say!
When did you become interested in global & community health?
I became interested in global and community health when I got exposed to community public level during my General Medicine Professional Certificate level studies. After completing my studies, I got an opportunity to work as a district focal person on equity and access program in NEEDS, Kanchanpur. This provided me with firm ground to learn and to bring into action all public health-related components covered during my PCL level studies. Furthermore, working with FCHVs and health workers at local health facilities gave me great insights into the intricacies at the primary health level. After working for 6 months, my interest in the field grew stronger, so I decided to pursue my degree in public health. Following this, I got a wonderful opportunity to work with Medic working for global health equity. It was really a dream come true moment for me when I was recruited.
What does your typical day look like?
I am an early bird so I am mostly up by 6 AM. In the morning hours, my favorite thing to do is to read the newspaper while drinking tea.
After completing my morning rituals, I normally start my day by checking emails, Slack and other messages. I connect with Project Officers, government and non-government partners, and my Deployment Manager. Typically, I spend a lot of time in the field for partnership meetings and deployment-related work.
After office hours, I prefer to hang out with my family and friends.
How do you, in the context of Medic, describe yourself as a health worker?
After joining the organization, I started working with district level health workers. My station was the District Public Health office, Baglung which falls under the Ministry of Health and Population. Since my placement, I have been working with their health team (FCHVs, health workers and public health administrator/ manager) as well as teams in five more districts with around 4,000 FCHVs to orient them on the tool so as to facilitate them to better coordinate ANC and PNC service delivery in the districts. I frequently try to inspire people to use new tools and technology to deliver health services in a coordinated way. In addition, I help health workers to check their programmatic progress through analytics dashboard and sit together with them to discuss gaps and challenges and try to overcome issues that hinder progress.
What is the most common feedback you hear back from the health workers that you have trained using Medic tools?
The most common feedback that I have heard is that FCHVs often appreciate our tool and talk loudly about how it has made their work easier.
What is one thing you have consistently observed about users of Medic’s tools in the field?
At the beginning of almost every deployment, health workers express concerns as to whether or not FCHVs will be able to use this tool. But after deployment, seeing most FCHVs use our tool, people appreciate it and often are inspired. However, occasional hardware problems and the rurality pose a question on how to move forward in terms of mobile phone repair and maintenance.
Manoj pictured above in discussion with FCHVs regarding their use of mobile phones prior to deploying Medic tools in Parasuram Municipality, Dadeldhura.
What is the most challenging part of your position?
The expectations of our partners from our tool at times is very challenging. They usually have this perception that after deployment of Medic tool, all maternal health-related indicators will improve but they often fail to understand its ecosystem. We often have to reiterate that technology only works when used properly. After the start of the federal government system, we now work with municipalities so at times it is challenging to maintain communication with all at once.
What is the most fulfilling part of your position?
The most fulfilling part of my position in Nepal is the huge success we have with our municipality level partnerships. The local government in the form of urban and rural municipalities are now contributing to the implementation of Medic tools which is very motivating as this increases local ownership, transparency, and accountability. I helped initiate this modality and currently lead many of these partnership conversations in Nepal. Now, we have streamlined and scaled this approach in a very fine way.
If you weren’t working at Medic, what would you be doing?
I would be working for a public health organization or voluntary organization or as a youth politician!
What are your hobbies and what do you like to do in your free time?
I enjoy traveling, taking part in volunteering activities, and spending quality time with family and friends!