Published On: 29 May 2024

In this Q&A session, we find out more about Dr Mutambo and her role in the USAID Accelerate 2 project.

Q: Please tell us briefly what this big, exciting project entails.
A: The Accelerate 2 project is an initiative funded by USAID aimed at supporting South Africa’s mission to eliminate tuberculosis (TB) in 7 high burden districts. Through targeted interventions focused on early detection, appropriate treatment, and prevention, particularly among vulnerable populations, Accelerate 2 seeks to bolster TB control efforts in high-burden districts and provincial levels. By providing technical support, implementing innovative program models, and building the capacity of healthcare professionals, Accelerate 2 aims to drive sustainable impact and contribute significantly to advancing TB elimination goals in South Africa.

Q: What is your role within Accelerate 2, and what do you personally hope to achieve?
A: As the Deputy Chief of Party (DCOP) within the Accelerate 2 project, my role is multifaceted and pivotal to the success of our mission to support South Africa’s efforts in TB elimination.
Collaborating closely with the Chief of Party (COP), USAID, and diverse stakeholders, my primary responsibility is to provide strategic leadership and comprehensive oversight across various project components. This entails shaping the program’s strategic trajectory, fostering collaboration, and ensuring alignment with national priorities. Additionally, I am entrusted with cultivating a cohesive and empowered team capable of effecting change at all levels, from the national to the grassroots level.
Personally, as a leader, I aspire to create a supportive environment conducive to shared learning, innovation, and continuous improvement. I aim to inspire and empower my team to strive for excellence, embrace challenges, and drive tangible impact in our collective efforts to combat TB and enhance healthcare outcomes in South Africa. Furthermore, I am committed to fostering a culture of openness, inclusivity, and accountability, where every team member feels valued, motivated, and empowered to contribute their best towards our shared goals. Ultimately, I hope to leave a lasting legacy of positive change and meaningful impact in the fight against TB, guided by our shared values and unwavering commitment to making a difference in the lives of those affected by this disease.

Q: What are your deliverables, and what impact to you hope to showcase?
Our deliverables for supporting South Africa’s TB elimination efforts encompass targeted technical support, customised program models, and capacity building initiatives. We aim to strengthen health systems’ capacity to detect, treat, and prevent TB, especially among vulnerable populations, through tailored interventions at provincial and district levels. By implementing diverse service delivery models such as Hub and Spoke, Technical Assistance, and Community Outreach, we seek to optimise TB care outcomes in high-burden communities. Additionally, we prioritise building the capacity of healthcare professionals through on-site inservice training and mentorship initiatives, enhancing the proficiency and competency of THINK-supported healthcare workers. Through these efforts, we aim to showcase improved TB detection and treatment, enhanced program resilience, and alignment with national priorities. Rigorous data analysis and continuous improvement strategies underpin our commitment to evidence-based decision-making, ensuring sustainable impact in TB control efforts.

Q: What are you excited about? What do you think could be challenging?
I’m particularly excited about the prospect of leading a dynamic team towards tangible impact within the Accelerate 2 Project. Building upon THINK’s foundation of strategic partnerships and evidence-based approaches, I look forward to fostering innovation and driving sustainable solutions to address the pressing challenge of tuberculosis in South Africa. Collaborating closely with MATCH, USAID and other stakeholders, I see immense potential in our ability to effect positive change at both the macro and micro levels of healthcare delivery.
However, I anticipate several challenges along the way. One such challenge may involve navigating the complex landscape of district healthcare governance and policy within THINK supported districts, ensuring alignment with governmental priorities while maintaining flexibility to adapt to evolving circumstances. Additionally, sustaining momentum and engagement among diverse stakeholders over the long term may require adept communication and relationship-building strategies. Moreover, the inherent complexities of TB prevention and treatment, including issues such as drug resistance and access barriers, underscore the need for continual adaptation and innovation within our programmatic approach.
Nonetheless, I view these challenges as opportunities for growth and innovation. By leveraging our collective expertise and commitment, I am confident that we can surmount these hurdles and drive meaningful progress towards our shared goal of combatting TB and improving healthcare outcomes in South Africa.

Q: How will THINK’s values be adhered to and shine through during Accelerate 2?
Within the Accelerate 2 Project, THINK’s values will serve as the guiding principles shaping every facet of our work. Our commitment to Making a Difference will drive strategic decisions and operational actions aimed at tangible impact in the fight against TB, prioritising interventions that benefit the communities we serve. Embracing Innovation, we will challenge conventional approaches, leveraging emerging technologies and pioneering solutions to elevate TB prevention and treatment efforts in South Africa. Anchored in a deep sense of compassion, our dedication to Caring About People and Outcomes ensures that our interventions are not only effective but also respectful of human dignity, with a relentless focus on achieving positive health outcomes and enhancing healthcare systems’ resilience.