"... and on the either side of the river was there the tree of life, which bore twelve kinds of fruit, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations."Revelation 22.2

Human Resources for Health Management

Human Resources have been recognized as a most crucial resource in health service delivery worldwide. CHAK secretariat and MHUs have recognized the importance of this major health systems component. Recent health sector studies, policies, strategies and plans, acknowledge that HRH constraints are hampering health sector planning and service delivery in Kenya.

The ability of a country to meet its health goals largely depends on the knowledge, skills, motivation and deployment of the people responsible for organizing and delivering health services.

CHAK in its Strategic Direction 6 has identified human resources in health as a critical component of its support to member health units.

Study on effects of HRM policies in FBOs  

CHAK collaborated with different partners and stakeholders in the health sector to undertake a study on the effects of human resource management policies in faith based organisations on the workforce and family planning/HIV service delivery.

The study with support from USAID Capacity Plus was conducted between 2014 and 2015. It noted sustained progress in implementation of human resource management policies, professionalization of human resources and improvement in human resource life cycle practices in MHUs.

The study however noted challenges in performance management, recruitment and hiring practices as well as employee compensation and benefits.

The findings were disseminated to 24 hospitals who participated in the study. Dissemination and implementation of the study findings has formed the basis of technical supportive supervision to bridge the identified gaps.

Clinical placements and mentorship guidelines

Clinical placements and mentorship guidelines were developed to give direction to CHAK secretariat and its affiliate institutions involved in strengthening clinical placement.

They were specifically to standardize and improve the processes of clinical training and mentorship in order to produce competent health professionals who are responsive to the health needs of Kenyans.

The guidelines are a useful resource for leaders and managers of training institutions and health facilities providing clinical placement opportunities for students.

Supportive supervision

CHAK has continued to offer technical supportive supervision in human resource management to MHUs. The main aim of this support is to strengthen MHUs to manage and develop their workforce in order to attract and retain competent staff.  At the same time, MHUs are encouraged to comply with health sector regulatory requirements.

Supportive supervision provided an opportunity to discuss pressing challenges within the facilities and share opportunities available to better address HRH issues especially on compliance and emerging issues. Best practices were also shared and better ways of maximizing available resources to better operations through a motivated workforce sought.

In 2016, over 40 facilities were supported. During the visits guidance was provided on changing labour legislation, HRH tools and usage, regulation, HR practices at the facility and HRH profiling. The discussions also provided linkages to peer support.

Labour disputes

The health sector has lately experienced increased agitation by health workers demanding recognition, better terms and conditions of service among other issues.

Implementation of The Kenya Constitution 2010 led to devolution of health services to the counties, which is contentious, especially for health workers.

This has led to increased agitation by unions and associations with the climax being the 100-day national doctors’ strike.

The strike led to collapse of the public health sector, desperation of patients and their families, collapse of training, shift of workload from public to FBO and private health facilities and compromised quality of services.

CHAK has not been spared with doctors in some MHUs threatening to join the strike in solidarity with their counterparts in the public sector.

Most seconded medical doctors and consultants resigned and joined the 2017 strike. Medical officer interns posted to CHAK hospitals also joined the strike, some giving reasons of victimization and threats from their striking colleagues.

In response, CHAK convened three separate consultative forums for member hospitals. These were geared towards sensitizing and helping health facilities appreciate the changing industrial landscape, providing opportunity to discuss the implications of unions and strategizing on how to deal with disruption of medical officer internships.

The forums recommended involvement of the church in resolving the doctors’ stalemate by praying for the country, offering to mediate in the process, seeking support for FBOs from both national and county governments and providing spiritual and moral support to the workforce.

Church leaders took up the challenge for advocacy which led to the final mediation process and return to work formula.

Some of the accruing benefits from the consultative forums included not only strengthened partnerships and support from counties on secondment of health workers and provision of commodities and supplies but also recognition of the role of FBOs in ensuring the health of all Kenyans. 

CHAK under the umbrella of the Churches Group of the Federation of Kenya Employers successfully negotiated a two-year collective bargaining agreement with the Kenya Union of Domestic, Hotels, Educational Institutions, Hospitals and Allied Workers Union (KUDHEIHA).

The final document has been signed by the key stakeholders, including CHAK, on behalf of members. The signed CBA is at the point of registration with the Labour and Employment Court (Industrial Court).

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