themliapproach
Back to Main

December 09, 2010

Motivators: Ethiopia's Roman Tesfaye

 
Roman Tesfaye

 

This is the fifth in a series of interviews with participants at the Ministerial Leadership Initiative for Global Health’s Learning Collaborative Forum in Addis Ababa on motivation – what motivates them and how do they motivate others. Roman Tesfaye is the director general of the Policy, Plan & Finance General Directorate in the Ministry of Health in Ethiopia.

Q: What motivates you?

A: When I did my Master’s degree, I had one lecturer from Ghana named Willy Addai. He was the most inspiring lecturer that I have ever come across, honestly. He motivated people to live up to their own potential. He didn’t tell us what to do. He just showed us that we can use your potential to the fullest. He always said, `we were not created to eat, or play, or whatever. We were created to give service.’ You have to always think, even at home, at the office, every place, that if you are creative. You can do whatever you want to do but you have to discipline yourself, you have to see your purpose. If you apply this principle to all of your journeys, you will always be successful, and you will be the happiest one in the world.

Q: How do you decide what your potential is? What did you do?

A: I joined a private company, but because of his influence, I couldn’t survive there because I figured that I was working for money. So I decided that I have to work for a purpose. I was trying to find work with some NGOs, but I was offered to join the Ministry of Health, and I just saw it as an opportunity to provide service to my people, to use my potential, to use all these lessons that I have  learnt from different people that I’ve met in my life.

Q: How do you use these lessons to motivate others?

A: You have to tell them the purpose of the work, share the vision; tell them who they are. You have to make them think who they are. And then they will do it from their heart, not only from their mind. You can have lots of technical capacity, but if you don’t buy the heart of your colleagues, you might not get very far. So I try to engage people in every process, try to be very open, discuss with them the purpose of why we are here. If they share the purpose, more can be done.

Q: What is your purpose in the Ministry of Health?

A: My purpose is to see that Ethiopian mothers and children have a healthy life, specifically mothers. I have hopes that we will have zero deaths of mothers. It is very painful to see mothers die giving life. I will do my best to contribute to creating a strong health system for them because by doing so we save thousands of lives.

Other Motivators:

Amara Koroma, director of financial services, and Dr. Samuel A.S. Kargbo, director of reproductive health in Sierra Leone's Ministry of Health and Sanitation.

Dr. Issa Bara Berthe, chief of statistics and information division at the Ministry of Health in Mali.

Dr. Aminata Kanu, MLI country lead, Sierra Leone.

Dr. Bocar Mamadou Daff, director of reproductive health in Senegal’s Ministry of Health and Prevention.

Khadka Bahadur Basyal Sarki, State Minister in the Ministry of Health and Population in Nepal.

Photo Credit Dominic Chavez

This is the fifth in a series of interviews with participants at the Ministerial Leadership Initiative for Global Health’s Learning Collaborative Forum in Addis Ababa on motivation – what motivates them and how do they motivate others. Roman Tesfaye is the director general of the Policy, Plan & Finance General Directorate in the Federal Ministry of Health in Ethiopia.  

Q: What motivates you? 

A: When I did my Master’s degree, I had one lecturer from Ghana named Willy Addai. He was the most inspiring lecturer that I have ever come across, honestly. He motivated people to live up to their own potential. He didn’t tell us what to do. He just showed us that we can use your potential to the fullest. He always said, `we were not created to eat, or play, or whatever. We were created to give service.’ You have to always think, even at home, at the office, every place, that if you are creative. You can do whatever you want to do but you have to discipline yourself, you have to see your purpose. If you apply this principle to all of your journeys, you will always be successful, and you will be the happiest one in the world.

Q: How do you decide what your potential is? What did you do? 

A: I joined a private company, but because of his influence, I couldn’t survive there because I figured that I was working for money. So I decided that I have to work for a purpose. I was trying to find work with some NGOs, but I was offered to join the Ministry of Health, and I just saw it as an opportunity to provide service to my people, to use my potential, to use all these lessons that I have  learnt from different people that I’ve met in my life.

Q: How do you use these lessons to motivate others? 

A: You have to tell them the purpose of the work, share the vision; tell them who they are. You have to make them think who they are. And then they will do it from their heart, not only from their mind. You can have lots of technical capacity, but if you don’t buy the heart of your colleagues, you might not get very far. So I try to engage people in every process, try to be very open, discuss with them the purpose of why we are here. If they share the purpose, more can be done.

Q: What is your purpose in the Ministry of Health?

A: My purpose is to see that Ethiopian mothers and children have a healthy life, specifically mothers. I have hopes that we will have zero deaths of mothers. It is very painful to see mothers die giving life. I will do my best to contribute to creating a strong health system for them because by doing so we save thousands of lives.