Assessment of Project Management Practice of Health Projects in the Times of COVID-19: The Case Study of Jhpiego, Addis Ababa Ethiopia

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Addis Ababa University


In the context of the COVID-19 unprecedented crisis, organizations had to face new challenges and to adapt to a work environment with less social interactions. Projects being unique in their nature had increased risk of failure during multi-dimensional COVID-19 crisis. This project work aimed to assess the changes made to the project management approach taking the case of Jhpiego, a project-based organization. A qualitative study with a narrative approach was employed. A purposively selected seven key informants who had different positions and experiences in implementing three health projects during the active COVID-19 pandemic period was involved in the study. Data were collected via key informant interviews. The interviews were prearranged, led by principal investigator, and except one interview, all interviews were conducted virtually using Microsoft teams. The audio-recorded interviews were transcribed and analyzed using narrative thematic analysis so that the content within the text was the focus. The results were presented as themes with supportive verbatim quotes. Seven participants selected from three different projects and supportive departments (finance, compliance and administration) participated in the study. The participants reported that COVID-19 pandemic succumbed projects to revise their workplan, reduce number of intervention facilities, reschedule activities, reshuffle activities, procure initially unplanned items (COVID-19 IPC), compromised quality standard of deliverables, reduced their budget utilization rate, loosen communication with project sites. To lessen the impact, it was reported that different mitigation measures were being implemented like working from home, shifting to virtual communication means. They also explained the pandemic gave them a lesson that virtual communication technologies could help do their task. It was also indicated that the situation also exposed many project teams to digital communication technologies. In conclusion, the multi-dimensional impact of the pandemic succumbed Jhpiego to change the routine project management practice on all project management knowledge areas. The mitigation measures helped the project somehow achieves their objectives. Hence, we recommend project-based organization to consider becoming more adaptive and flexible, and enabling rapid innovation. In addition, we suggest organizations to use working from home as alternative means of getting work done



Project management, Qualitative study