New Technical Brief: West Africa's Regional Approach to Strengthening Health Workforce Information

Mali Health Worker

CapacityPlus Technical Brief #2. By Kayode Odusote, Carol Bales, Sarah Dwyer, and Dykki Settle.

The West African Health Organization (WAHO) is implementing a regional approach to strengthening health workforce information systems, leveraging resources from CapacityPlus, other USAID-funded projects, donors, and global organizations. This technical brief provides an overview of this approach, highlights lessons learned, and provides recommendations for other regions and countries to adopt the approach.

WAHO serves 15 member countries, all of which have less than the WHO recommended 2.3 doctors, nurses, and midwives per 1,000 people. Simply put, there are too few health workers, and many of those who are present are inadequately educated and trained, inequitably distributed, and poorly supported. In 2009, most WAHO countries had some health workforce data linked to payroll databases, but these did not provide the information health leaders needed in terms of availability, distribution, and skills mix. None had health workforce information system that could be used for planning. Therefore WAHO sought a functional, affordable, and sustainable system that could be used by all member countries and enable the regional exchange of information and aggregation of data. WAHO decided on iHRIS, open source software for tracking, managing, and planning the health workforce.

Read the brief to learn how in just two and a half years a regional movement fueled the implementation of the iHRIS software in Ghana, Mali, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and Togo, with several other WAHO countries eager to also deploy the software.

The technical brief is available as an interactive version and a printer-friendly document.​