Three Questions for Doris Mwarey

Doris Mwarey is the regional HR specialist with the Africa Christian Health Associations Platform, a position supported by CapacityPlus. She is based in Kenya.

How are you helping the Christian Health Association community to learn from each other in terms of human resources for health (HRH)?
One of the key roles I'm playing is to create linkages between the different Christian Health Associations. I help them to learn from each other, and I support them through various collaborations, especially the human resources for health technical working group that exists within the Africa Christian Health Associations Platform.

I would like to play a big role in the documentation of what is going on in individual countries to help scale up the application of good practices for replication by Christian Health Associations in other countries. For example, Malawi is learning from Kenya's human resource management policy development process. The Christian Health Association of Malawi wants to develop human resource management policies for their affiliate health facilities. They realized that the Christian Health Association of Kenya and the Kenya Episcopal Conference—Catholic Health Commission have gone through a similar process, and they would like to learn from what Kenya has done. Through the support of the CapacityPlus project, I assisted in setting up an exchange meeting where a team from Malawi visited the Christian Health Association of Kenya to talk about their HR policy development and implementation process. They were able to learn and talk to different facilities on implementation and what progress has been made.

For someone who isn’t familiar with HR management, can you define it?
Human resources management (HRM) is all the practices and procedures that you put in place to attract, to maintain, and develop an employee. It includes all the activities surrounding hiring an employee, how you're going to keep them there through pay and motivation, and how you develop them in terms of training and building their skills. In simple terms, it is looking at that whole cycle of an employee working for an institution.

Would you please describe the importance of HR management for faith-based organizations?

One of the challenges that FBOs have been facing is how to attract, motivate, and retain health workers. Through effective HR management systems, FBOs stand to improve the productivity and retention of health workers in the FBO sector. Also, through sound HR management, they will strengthen their collaborations and partnerships.

Human resources for health issues are very complex, but by forming partnerships with governments and other organizations, FBOs will get the needed support to address some of their health worker challenges such as health worker shortages, unrealistic workloads and poor work conditions— particularly in very remote areas where most of the mission hospitals and faith-based facilities are based. I think effective HR management is therefore critical to ensure that FBO facilities have adequate numbers of motivated and skilled health workers in each location.

Responses are excerpted from a longer interview. The full text is available on the HRH Global Resource Center, CapacityPlus’s digital library of human resources for health information.

Photo: Adam Buzzacco