On 18th July 2019, the first-ever forum focusing on health workers convened with a series of actions to deliberate on Human Resources for Health in the county.
The Human Resources for Health (HRH) Kenya which is USAID Kenya funded project convened an engagement forum which brought together county human resources for health stakeholders with the aim of strengthening health systems for improved health outcomes in Kisumu.
Speaking during the official opening of the forum, the Ag. Chief Officer Health and Sanitation, Mr. Stephen Sewe appreciated the IntraHealth International for the implementing of the HRH, a project that has help the health department to identify gaps in the health work force. Mr. Sewe noted that the HRH Kenya mechanisms has helped the County in keeping track of its health workforce and has informed decisions on human resources for health management.
The Chief Officer also acknowledged that the data generated from the system has enabled the county human resources for health in managing payroll clean up thus controlling the wedge bill.
The series of actions laid out by County health medical officers’ representing the 7 sub counties was geared towards deepening the understating of HRH Kenya work among key County stakeholders, disseminate key HRH Kenya best practices through various knowledge products and to create a strong rapport between the mechanism and to its partners including county governments.
In his speech, the representative from the HRH Kenya, Mr. Tervil Okoko was regretful that despite implementation of Universal health Coverage (UHC), the health workforce has only recently started to receive attention.
As a UHC pilot County, Kisumu has a deficit of about 76% of health workers (County HRH data), thus the need to keep track of the size and composition of the health workforce and formulate plans for future needs for HRH.
According to Mr. Okoko, evidence -based health workforce policies are essential to ensure the provision of high-quality health services that support the attainment of UHC, adding that the achievement of health-related SDGs and UHC remains conditional on the existence of a health workforce that is well-planned, deployed and appropriately managed and supported to meet population needs.
Mr. Akoko who represented the Chief of Party Dr. Wasunna Owino was sure that the USAID-funded HRH Kenya mechanism remains committed to its partnership with the County in improving and strengthening the HRH systems for improved health outcomes through support towards: sustainable interventions that increase the number of market-ready health workers, improving quality of pre-service training, Improving the management and leadership of health workers through the adoption of good HRH practices, encourage exchange of learning and information sharing with other county governments and key stakeholders, and Institutionalize the optimization of data use for effective HRH decision-making.
HRH Kenya celebrated County leadership for their commitment and support of the HRH work council committee and for taking a step further to employ more health workers to respond to the demands of the UHC implementation.
The Forum was the first of its kind to be held among the HRH Kenya project counties is Kenya.
By Matilda Atieno