HR Management Policy Implementation at Presbyterian Church of East Africa Kikuyu Mission Hospital

In Kenya, faith-based organizations make a major contribution to health service delivery. The Christian Health Association of Kenya (CHAK) and the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops provide an estimated 30% of health care in the country through their more than 800 affiliated facilities. With assistance from the Capacity Project and subsequently from CapacityPlus, CHAK released a comprehensive HR management generic policy document in 2008. The document outlined organizational HR policies, procedures, and guidelines with the aim of strengthening human resources management (HRM) at affiliated facilities. The following post originally appeared in Hotline HRH, a publication of the Africa Christian Health Associations Platform.

Inside the gate of the hospitalPresbyterian Church of East Africa Kikuyu Hospital is one of the oldest hospitals in Kenya, having been founded in 1908 by Scottish missionaries led by Dr. Arthur. The aim of the missionaries was to educate the young boys and girls as health workers, among other objectives.

Growing only slowly over the early years from its beginnings as a small first-aid centre, the hospital received a major boost in 1975 from the late President Jomo Kenyatta, who seconded medical staff to the hospital from the Government. In the same year, the first ophthalmic work was done at the newly-founded Eye Unit.

In addition, work on diabetes, a condition which brought so many patients to the Eye Unit, expanded in 1993 into a specialist Diabetes Unit aiming at teaching self-management to diabetic patients and their families, and also at improving knowledge and skills among health professionals.

Dialysis UnitThe hospital established the Eye Unit in 1975, and it serves patients from East and Central Africa and also trains medical personnel in eye care. This has inevitably made Kikuyu Hospital known well beyond the country’s borders. In 1993, an Orthopaedic Unit was set up to specifically deal with orthopaedic problems not related to trauma. This programme has evolved into a comprehensive Rehabilitation Centre and new facilities for this work were built and dedicated in 1998.

In 2006 the Dental Unit was developed in partnership with the First Presbyterian Church, USA (Fargo, North Dakota) to meet the growing demand for quality dental treatment in a pleasant environment.

In December 2013, the hospital received a presidential Jubilee Award in recognition of most auspicious, outstanding, and exceptional services rendered to the Republic of Kenya.

Patrick KyaloIn 2008 CHAK developed a generic HRM policy manual and disseminated it to member health units for both adoption and/or adaptation to the facility’s policies. As a result the human resources for health (HRH) advisor at CHAK worked with different institutions including Kikuyu to implement the HRM policies. Kikuyu developed their HRM policy manual with approval for use by the board of management. As a result several benefits have accrued from this exercise, including and not limited to:

  • Diversity in service delivery that has led to specialization in different cadres and departments with well-trained and qualified employees
  • HR policy manual best practices, including:
    • Clear recruitment and orientation processes
    • Staff remuneration harmonization and salary scales ensuring equity
    • Salary advance and interest-free loans to further education
    • Social support groups (e.g., bereavement, Christmas savings, welfare, and self-help groups)
    • Appraisal (mid/end year) and recognition of best performance
    • Team-building activities
    • Housing for staff
    • Staff training
  • Management and governance with clear organizational structure, governance structure, strategic plan, and strategic meetings at all levels encouraging staff involvement and participation.

Patrick Kyalo is HRH advisor at CHAK.

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Photos courtesy of Patrick Kyalo and Hotline HRH (inside the gate of the hospital; Dialysis Unit; author)