Fueling a regional movement

Kayode Odusote (center) works with colleagues at a workshop in TogoFollowing the 2009 meeting, WAHO partnered with the Ghana Ministry of Health to conduct a pilot of iHRIS Manage, a health workforce management information system, in Ghana’s Northern Region. With only remote technical support from CapacityPlus, the Ministry’s information technology (IT) officers customized the software. WAHO trained staff of the Human Resources Unit of the Northern Regional Health Directorate to collect and enter data and produce reports, and trained IT staff to maintain the software. In just six months, information on 2,445 health workers employed in the Northern Region was entered into the system.

Results from the Ghana pilot were presented to the directors of human resources of ECOWAS countries at a meeting in Liberia in May 2010. Participants accepted the report of the pilot, which called it “a remarkable success.”

The successful pilot fueled a regional movement that resulted in a high level of country buy-in and local stakeholder leadership. Through WAHO’s leadership, advocacy, and support, iHRIS is now being implemented throughout Ghana and in Mali, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and Togo. Other member countries, such as Liberia and Niger, have expressed interest in deploying the software. WAHO leads iHRIS implementation at the regional and national level, contributing funding and relying on local talent who are empowered through training and remote technical support from CapacityPlus.

WAHO supported the translation of iHRIS Manage into French and its customization to suit the Ministry of Health’s administrative systems and processes. With funding from WAHO and the World Health Organization, the Ministry collected data on all health workers in its employ. Records on over 10,000 health workers were entered into the system. Trained IT officers of the Ministry are producing customized reports to support decision-making, such as distribution of health workers by professional category and gender.

At a computer workstation in MaliThe Ministry of Health customized the regionally-translated French version of iHRIS Manage to suit the Directorate of Human Resources. With support from WAHO and CapacityPlus, the Directorate piloted the software in the Sikasso district of the Sikasso region. Findings from the pilot, comprising data on over 700 health workers, showed that most of the trained skilled birth attendants were located in the primary health care (PHC) centers in the urban area. None of the PHC centers had a full complement of staff based on the country norms. The software is being rolled out to additional districts of Sikasso and will be extended to Mali’s other regions and used for the daily management of health workers.

WAHO conducted a site survey to obtain information on the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s existing paper-based information system, collected feedback from staff on the ability of iHRIS Qualify, a qualification and licensure tracking database, to meet the Council’s needs, and identified challenges to implementation. The Nursing and Midwifery Council now boasts the largest iHRIS installation in the world, using a customized version of iHRIS Qualify to capture and manage information on over 145,000 nurses and midwives formerly stored in 18 manual registers.

Sierra Leone
The Ministry of Health and Sanitation is implementing iHRIS Manage to track and manage health workers. The Department of Computer Science and Engineering of the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania received an award from the World Health Organization to assist the Ministry with customizing and deploying the software, an example of true South-to-South collaboration.

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