Supporting African Faith-Based Organizations to Develop Health Workforce Advocacy Messages

Faith-based organizations (FBOs) provide 30% to 70% of health services in African countries and often serve remote and rural areas that have difficulty attracting and retaining health workers. FBOs also provide a significant amount of health worker education and training, yet are often under-recognized for their contributions and have minimal resources allocated for developing of strong human resources for health (HRH) management skills, policies, and procedures. CapacityPlus strengthens FBOs’ ability to manage their health workers and provide high quality care to underserved populations.

From April 16–18, HRH leaders from several FBOs across Africa gathered in Nairobi at a meeting of the HRH Technical Working Group of the Africa Christian Health Associations (ACHA) Platform. CapacityPlus’s Doris Mwarey, Craig Hafner, and Erika Pearl helped facilitate the meeting.
Representatives from the Christian Health Association of Malawi, the Churches Health Association of Zambia, the Uganda Protestant Medical Bureau, the Christian Health Association of Kenya, the Kenya Episcopal Conference, the Christian Social Services Commission, and the ACHA Platform shared achievements on HRH initiatives, discussed HRH challenges, and developed HRH advocacy messages.

Euniace Bandio of the Christian Social Services Commission explains his problem treeEssentially, without the right number of adequately trained health workers, health service provision is affected. Participants identified issues and their root causes and effects related to health service provision faced by their organizations and affiliated health facilities. While poor retention is a problem faced by all organizations and health facilities, the root causes and effects were different from country to country. Reasons included:

  • Poor leadership and management
  • Inadequate budgets/remuneration
  • Heavy workloads and unsatisfactory working environments
  • Inadequate HRH policies
  • Lack of accurate HRH data.

Using the root cause discussion as a springboard, the group brainstormed themes for the development of key HRH advocacy messages for the ACHA Platform and the individual organizations to use for HRH lobbying. Over the next few months these messages will be refined and ratified at the 2013 ACHA Biennial Conference.

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Photo by Doris Mwarey. (Euniace Bandio of the Christian Social Services Commission explains his problem tree)