Success of a South-South collaboration on Human Resources Information Systems (HRIS) in health: a case of Kenya and Zambia HRIS collaboration
BACKGROUND: Shortage of health workforce in most African countries is a major impediment to achieving health and development goals. Countries are encouraged to develop evidence-based strategies to scale up their health workforce in order to bridge the gap. South-South collaborations have gained popularity due to similarities in the challenges faced in the region. This strategy has been used in trade, education, and health sector among others. This paper is a road map of using a South-South collaboration to develop a Human Resources Information System (HRIS) to inform scale-up of the health workforce.
CASE PRESENTATION: In the last decade, Kenya implemented one of the most comprehensive HRIS in Africa. The HRIS was funded by the US President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and implemented by Emory University. The Kenyan team collaborated with the Zambian team to establish a similar HRIS in Zambia. This case study describes the collaboration activities between Zambia and Kenya which included needs assessment, establishment of project office, stakeholders' sensitization, technical assistance and knowledge transfer, software reuse, documents and guidelines reuse, project structure and management, and project formative evaluation. Furthermore, it highlights the need for adopting effective communication strategies, collaborative planning, teamwork, willingness to learn, and having minimum technical skills from the recipient country as lessons learned from the collaboration. As a result of the collaboration, while Kenya took 5 years, Zambia was able to implement the project within 2 years which is less than half the time it took Kenya.
CONCLUSIONS: This case presents a unique experience in the use of South-South collaboration in establishing a HRIS. It illustrates the steps and resources needed while identifying the successes and challenges in undertaking such collaboration.