I am happy to report that Nigeria is beginning to address the issues of weakness in Human Resources for Health (HRH) development.
The need for change
Save the Children, along with other partners, has been advocating for harmonisation of the various systems used by governments and organisations working on HRH in Nigeria.
Until now, many of the organisations and agencies of government have registers that capture several data elements about HRH that do not necessarily relate to each other.
There is lack of harmony and it is possible for one person to be on more than one register at the same time, with conflicting information.
Moving to one HRIS
The move to have one human resources information system (HRIS) started in 2011, when the Federal Minister for Health gave approval for the HRH branch to carry out the process with support from WHO and Center for Disease Control, Nigeria.
Specifically, the HRH branch was asked to identify HRH data sources to be captured by the HRH registry, to document discrete business processes and corresponding functional requirements associated with HRH at national and sub-national levels, and also to recommend the essential (minimum) data elements for enhancing health workforce information system at national and sub-national levels.
Review and recommendations
In 2012, stakeholders, including Save the Children, met to review the outcomes of the work.
We were to provide recommendations towards implementation of a national HRH workforce registry and assist the Federal Minister for Health in the planning processes to organise a national stakeholders’ validation meeting on HRIS.
We also had to decide on an appropriate date for a meeting of the Technical Working Group (Save the children is a member) to give final advice to the Federal Minister for Health.
And so it was that all the 14 regulatory councils on HRH and selected partners (including Save the Children, PATHS2, WHO and others) gathered for the two-day meeting in February 2013.
Selected data elements were agreed on and these will be presented to the stakeholders in a meeting to be held in March.
Thanks to Save the Children
Save the Children’s entrance into the efforts has been appreciated by the Ministry since we have acted as catalysts to fast-track the processes.
At the end of the two-day meeting, the HRH desk officer, Mr Kadir, was immensely grateful to Save the Children for the interest and support given to the unit over the past year.
He expressed his hope that Save the Children will continue playing the roles required to ensure that the HRH unit becomes strong and is able to carry out its functions effectively.
Save the Children will be supporting the HRH desk over the next couple of years to ensure that information on HRH is readily available at the federal level and in all our states, and to ensure that this informs planning by providing evidence on HRH development.