Human Resources

Crisis and resilience at the frontline: Coping strategies of Kenyan primary health care managers in a context of devolution and uncertainty
Nyikuri M; Barasa E; Molyneux S; Tsofa B: Kemri Wellcome Trust Research Programme, Kenya, 2016

Primary health care (PHC) plays a vital role in maintaining population health, preventing suffering and providing coverage of essential services. In Kenya, primary health centres and dispensaries are often managed by the most senior clinical staff member at the facility who is responsible for performing both clinical and managerial duties. PHC managers, also known as in-charges, play a key role in the functioning of health services on a day-to-day basis. KEMRI-Wellcome Trust has conducted research in one of the 47 counties in Kenya to better understand the role and responsibilities of PHC managers and their coping strategies within the context of devolution and uncertainty. The key findings from the research are set out in this brief, as well as recommendations to support PHC managers. The research found that PHC managers carry out a variety of tasks to ensure facilities can function effectively. These include: developing annual work plans, ensuring coverage and delivery of services, providing leadership and management to frontline staff. Despite the challenges faced by PHC managers in the period since devolution, facilities remained open and functioning. A key support system for in-charges was the sub-county managers, some of whom had played the role of line managers to in- charges for decades.

Designing financial incentive programmes for return of medical service in underserved areas
Bärnighausen Till and Bloom DE: Human Resources for Health, 26 June 2009

Financial-incentive programmes for return of service, whereby participants receive payments in return for a commitment to practise for a period of time in a medically underserved area, can alleviate local and regional health worker shortages through a number of mechanisms. First, they can redirect the flow of those health workers who would have been educated without financial incentives from well-served to underserved areas. Second, they can add health workers to the pool of workers who would have been educated without financial incentives and place them in underserved areas. Third, financial-incentive programmes may improve the retention in underserved areas of those health workers who participate in a programme, but who would have worked in an underserved area without any financial incentives. Fourth, the programmes may increase the retention of all health workers in underserved areas by reducing the strength of some of the reasons why health workers leave such areas, including social isolation, lack of contact with colleagues, lack of support from medical specialists and heavy workload.

Designing financial-incentive programmes for return of medical service in underserved areas: Seven management functions
Bärnighausen T and Bloom DE: Human Resources for Health, 26 June 2009

This paper draws on studies of financial incentive programmes and other initiatives with similar objectives to discuss seven management functions that are essential for the long-term success of financial incentive programmes aimed at retaining staff in underserved areas: using innovative financing; promoting health as a career; introducing specific selection criteria to ensure programme success and achieve goals; ensuring correct placement of new employees; offering support by staying in close contact with participants throughout enrolment and assigning them mentors; enforcement (programmes may use community-based monitoring or outsource enforcement to existing institutions); and routine performance evaluation of programmes. To improve the strength of the evidence on the effectiveness of financial incentives, controlled experiments should be conducted where feasible.

Determining the competences of community based workers for disability-inclusive development in rural areas of South Africa, Botswana and Malawi
Lorenzo T; van Pletzen E; Booyens M: The International Electronic Journal of Rural and Remote Health Research, Education, Practice and Policy 15(2), 2015

This article analyses the work of community disability workers (CDWs) in three southern African countries to demonstrate the competencies that these workers acquired to make a contribution to social justice for persons with disabilities and their families. It points to some gaps and then argues that these competencies should be consolidated and strengthened in curricula, training and policy. Purposive sampling was used to select and interviews held with 16 CDWs who had at least 5 years experience of disability-related work in a rural area. Three main themes emerged, related to the integrated management of health conditions and impairments within a family focus; disability-inclusive community development and coordinated intersectoral management systems. The CDWs were found to facilitate change and manage the multiple transitions experienced by the families at different stages of the disabled person’s development. Disability-inclusive development is argued to require a workforce equipped with skills to work intersectorally and in a cross-disciplinary manner to operationalise the community-based rehabilitation guidelines that are designed to promote delivery of services in remote and rural areas. The author argues for their recognition as a CDWs as a cross-disciplinary profession.

Developing a Nursing Database System in Kenya
Riley PL, Vindigni SM, Arudo J, Waudo AN, Kamenju A, Ngoya J, Oywer EO, Rakuom CP, Salmon ME, Kelley M, Rogers M, St. Louis ME, Marum LH: Health Services Research 42 (3): 1389-1405, June 2007

Creating a national electronic nursing workforce database provides more reliable information on nurse demographics, migration patterns, and workforce capacity. Data analyses are most useful for human resources for health (HRH) planning when workforce capacity data can be linked to worksite staffing requirements. As a result of establishing this database, the Kenya Ministry of Health has improved capability to assess its nursing workforce and document important workforce trends, such as out-migration. Current data identify the United States as the leading recipient country of Kenyan nurses. The overwhelming majority of Kenyan nurses who elect to out-migrate are among Kenya's most qualified.

Developing and scaling up African led solutions to the human resources crisis
Hall S: African Medical and Research Foundation , 2007

This briefing paper explores different ways of addressing the health worker crisis in Africa. It addresses problems of poor training, motivation and retention of health workers, the lack of skilled health workers in remote and hard to reach areas, and poor community engagement with health systems. The authors argue that to tackle the immediate health worker crisis it is important to find models which can quickly deploy and retain workers and ensure they get appropriate training and support. Responses need to expand the cadres of workers with basic clinical and community health competencies, such as enrolled nurses, clinical officers and community health workers.

Developing evidence-based ethical policies on the migration of health workers
Human Resources for Health 2003

It is estimated that in 2000 almost 175 million people, or 2.9% of the world's population, were living outside their country of birth, compared to 100 million, or 1.8% of the total population, in 1995. As the global labour market strengthens, it is increasingly highly skilled professionals who are migrating. Medical practitioners and nurses represent a small proportion of highly skilled workers who migrate, but the loss of health human resources for developing countries can mean that the capacity of the health system to deliver health care equitably is compromised.

Developing evidence-based ethical policies on the migration of health workers: conceptual and practical challenges
Human Resources for Health 2003

It is estimated that in 2000 almost 175 million people, or 2.9% of the world's population, were living outside their country of birth, compared to 100 million, or 1.8% of the total population, in 1995. As the global labour market strengthens, it is increasingly highly skilled professionals who are migrating. Medical practitioners and nurses represent a small proportion of highly skilled workers who migrate, but the loss of health human resources for developing countries can mean that the capacity of the health system to deliver health care equitably is compromised.

Developing health economics capacity in Africa: Evaluation of HEU’s teaching programmes
Health Economics Unit, University of Cape Town: HEU Policy Brief, May 2012

The objective of this study was to assess the extent to which the Health Economics Unit (HEU) has contributed to the development of health economics capacity in sub-Saharan Africa through the provision of Master’s and PhD programmes since the 1990s. The evaluation was based on a document review and 25 key informant interviews – with Master’s and PhD graduates, HEU staff members with management roles, beneficiaries of HEU’s internal capacity-building initiatives and international experts. The programmes have so far graduated 115 Master’s and 15 PhD graduates in health economics. Feedback from graduates indicated they are largely satisfied with the programmes. Most graduates are retained in the region if not in their home countries and find employment in a post that uses at least some of the skills gained during the programme, although not necessarily strictly in health economics. In terms of overall financial sustainability of HEU’s post-graduate programmes, SIDA funding has come to an end, which means there is a need to pursue financial support from the University in line with the usual funding of post-graduate training. The policy brief also makes some recommendations for improving future programmes.

Developing lay health worker policy in South Africa: A qualitative study
Daniels K, Clarke M and Ringsberg KC: Health Research Policy and Systems 10(8), 12 March 2012

Over the past half decade South Africa has been developing, implementing and redeveloping its lay health worker (LHW) policies. The aim of this study was to explore contemporary LHW policy development processes and the extent to which issues of gender are taken up within this process. Eleven policy actors (policy makers and policy commentators) were interviewed individually. From the interviews it seems that gender as an issue never reached the policy making agenda. Although there was strong recognition that the working conditions of LHWs needed to be improved, poor working conditions were not necessarily seen as a gender concern. On the positive side, the authors note that LHW policy redevelopment was focused on resolving issues of LHW working conditions through an active process involving many actors and strong debates. But, within this process the issue of gender had no champion and never reached the LHW policy agenda.

Pages