iHRIS user training for the Health sector in Kenya

Kenya is implementing iHRIS Manage to track health workers in the country’s health sector. A technical working group (TWG), mandated by health sector stakeholders and with technical assistance from Capacity Kenya project, is leading the initiative. The two ministries of health -- Ministry of Medical Services (MoMS) and Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation (MoPHS) -- were identified as the first sites for implementation.  So far, iHRIS Manage has been customized to meet the sites’ specific requirements, infrastructure strengthened and the software installed.

To ensure maximum benefit from the installation, 38 senior human resource (HR) managers were trained on the system between 18th-October and 13th-November 2009. Starting with training managers as opposed to computer operators, as is the common practice, was an intentional strategy to ensure that managers nominate the most useful clerical staff from their section when it comes to the training of data entrants.

Such a comprehensive training of senior HR managers is usually cumbersome and not easily achievable, as it means having all of them away from their workstations at the same time and for long periods of time – which is not feasible as work has to continue. To overcome this hurdle, the organizers of the training (TWG) worked with the HR departments at the two ministries of health to come up with a staggered but structured programme that maximized utility. The venue for the training was in the HRIS room (renovated and equipped by Capacity Project/Kenya) at MoH office block, where both ministries are locared. The managers were divided into two groups: morning and afternoon.  Topics covered in the morning were repeated in the afternoon to ensure those who missed their group session had another opportunity to attend. With this arrangement, over 90% of the participants attended all sessions.

The participants were introduced to open source technology.  As agents for change, they felt this knowledge was necessary, especially because they interact with other existing and upcoming databases in government.

The training was hands-on and interactive – participants shared experiences and openly discussed application of sessions to their daily work.  Skills imparted included data entry and edit, database querying, and reports generation. Participants also gave important feedback about iHRIS Manage that varied from suggested minor changes to major developments, such as a leave management, discipline and medical scheme modules. Other fundamental changes required relate to assigning positions codes, which is not currently common practice. Usually, an establishment register would have job codes, description and number of budgeted slots (positions). Assigning position codes make it possible to analyze staffing by workstation/health facility.

To experience the full potential of iHRIS Manage, all participants were given system administrator rights during the training and, as an exercise, they were instructed to change roles to appreciate how system security works.

The next steps are for the managers to choose clerical staff to be trained as data entrants and to orient all trained staff to use HRIS to work. Once all training at the ministries of health has been completed, Kenya will then roll out the system to all the provinces, Kenya Episcopal Conference (KEC) and Christian Health Association of Kenya (CHAK), so that FBOs, regional health planners and program managers can regularly receive, use, and benefit from workforce data. A data sharing policy is being developed to address how data will be shared and integrated. This will ensure that HR data are being used, both at national and sub-national level, for decision making and informing policies.