New Software Application Tracks Health Worker Training
The global agenda is clear: universal health coverage. And as we heard at the Third Global Forum on Human Resources for Health, a strong, qualified health workforce is essential to achieving this goal.
But how do we create a strong global health workforce that can provide care to all 7 billion of us? One of the keys is information—reliable, accurate information on health workers’ skills and qualifications.
Data on individual health workers’ training can be hard to come by. The information is often scattered in paper files, buried in obscure databases, or simply does not exist. To help address this challenge, IntraHealth’s iHRIS team in Uganda customized the open source iHRIS software to create iHRIS Train, a whole new application that captures and reports health worker training data.
iHRIS Train is unique among the iHRIS applications in that it was conceived and developed entirely in-country by a team from IntraHealth’s Uganda Capacity Program. “The tool started out as a way to track in-service training for the Ministry of Health,” says Ismail Wadembere of the Uganda Capacity Project. “Then the Ministry of Education and Sports quickly picked up on the power of iHRIS Train and asked if it could include preservice education.”
The result provides a complete picture of health workers’ training histories in Uganda, from preservice education at health training institutions through regular in-service trainings that health workers go through to update their skills. Managers can see how many newly trained workers will be entering the workforce and identify existing employees who need training in new skills. Training institutions and examination bodies can use iHRIS Train to monitor student performance, as well as collect information on faculty qualifications.
“To date we have trained 167 data managers and 72 decision-makers to use iHRIS Train,” Wadembere says, including users from the ministries of health and education and sports, health professional councils, health examination bodies, and implementing partners. And iHRIS Train is rapidly expanding to other African nations.
In Kenya, IntraHealth customized iHRIS Train to track in-service trainings for the Ministry of Health. More than 40 people from the Ministry of Health, training institutions, and regulatory bodies took part in a three-day training hosted by the FUNZOKenya project. And in Nigeria, the IntraHealth-led CapacityPlus project is helping PEPFAR partners adopt a single system to coordinate and track health worker trainings through a customized version of iHRIS Train—eliminating paper files and duplicated efforts at the same time.
In just a short time, developers from across Africa have worked together to create a powerful tool that can help address one of our most difficult challenges: providing reliable, accurate, and timely information on health worker training. iHRIS Train is bringing us one step closer to our ultimate goal of universal health coverage.