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Sierra Leone News: iHRIS software minimizes waste in Bombali

What is the point of learning how to do something well by an organization if you have to learn the same thing later on by another organization? The problem of duplication of effort, which wastes time and resources, is especially prevalent in Non Governmental Organizations (NGO) that deal with health.
There have been lots of waste in Sierra Leone’s health sector due to duplication of training of the same Community Health Workers (CHWs) on the same health issue or multiple health issues by NGOs; while other areas that needed such training often do not receive it. However, the advent of the Integrated Human Resource Information System has helped to minimize such waste caused by duplication of training.
iHRIS, IntraHealth’s free, open source health workforce information systems software, to track and manage data to improve access to health care. The software captures and maintains high-quality information for health workforce planning, management, regulation, and training.
Bombali District has about 1,120 CHWs in 13 chiefdoms. Most of these CHWs are based in the hard to reach communities in the district.
Bombali District Medical Officer (DMO), Dr. Brima Osio Kamara said the advantage of the iHRIS is that they are “…now able to supervise the CHWs.”
He added, “We are now able to know exactly the number of CHWs working in a particular chiefdom.” “If we are doing any allocation we know that in this particular catchment area we have this total amount of CHWs. This has been assisting us in terms of how we allocate resources to the CHWs and what instruction to give them as they work in these communities,” he explained. The DMO said, “Before now we did not have documentation of all the CHWs. All the different programmes had their own workers in the field.” Now, he explained “what the ministry and UNICEF came up with is for us to harmonize the CHWs and what we’ve now done is that with the help of the community we were able to identify and have a comprehensive list all the CHWs. We’ve trained them on all the modules and they are now in the fields,” the DMO averred.
“This has helped to curtail duplication because every organization coming to work on health issues in these communities they need to come though the District Health Management Team. At the DHMT we have the database of all CHWs.” “Recently we’ve trained 150 CHWs these are fresh CHWs they were not trained from the existing 1,120 CHWs. The 150 are funded by Global Fund and they are purely working on TB. This is to avoid double dipping. We have our data base and we try to choose people that are not within the existing CHWs.” The DMO emphasized that the iHRIS has reduced wastage in the sense that in the past the same CHWs would be used in 3 different activities. “For example if an organization is implementing a malaria programme in 9 chiefdoms in Bombali district and let say they want to recruit CHWs to train them on malaria if they train CHWs which are already been trained in malaria while there are other areas that need CHWs to be trained on malaria we would be able to know. This database monitors which CHWs have been trained and those that have not yet received training and needs training.” District CHW focal, Ibrahim Sorie Turay pointed out that notwithstanding the efficiency of the system access to internet connectivity poised a serious challenge.
By Ophaniel Gooding
Tuesday June 19, 2018.

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