Amref Health Africa held the first Dean’s Forum with focal persons, university deans, and other stakeholders of the PEPFAR-funded, through USAID, Human Resources for Health (HRH) Kenya Mechanisms project on 30 and 31 August 2017.
The main objective of the forum, which will be held annually, is to facilitate co-operation and collaboration by sharing best practices in curriculum strengthening for improved IST and PST, including clinical placement training. The event comes a month after Amref was awarded the Letter of Interim Authority by the Commission of University Education.
“We are happy to host you and are looking forward to learning from the best,” stated Dr Peter Ngatia, the Director of Capacity Building in Amref. Dr Ngatia called upon the participants to work together to ensure that quality training is provided to students.
“You can do anything you want in a health system but without qualified health care workers, you will not accomplish anything,” he stated.
Dr Ngatia’s sentiments were echoed by Dr George Kimathi, the Director of the Institute of Capacity Development, speaking on behalf of Amref Group CEO, Dr Githinji Gitahi. “Human Resources for Health is core in service delivery,” he stated. “We have to make sure that all graduates we send out are market ready and are able to tackle the health concerns Africa faces,” he added.
The HRH-Kenya project, which organised the event, is a five-year project (2016-2021) that seeks to help health workers’ training colleges increase the number of market ready graduates who are responsive to Kenya’s disease burden. Additionally, the project aims to encourage an efficient HRH management system for both the national and county leaderships to allow for HRH decisions based on market-driven data and disease epidemiology.
“Health care workers should be fully equipped with knowledge to deliver right and needed health care services to the people of Africa,” observed Dr Wasunna Owino, the Chief of Party and Country Director of HRH-Kenya.
Also present in the event was Dr Janet Muriuki, the Technical Director – HRH Kenya, who pointed out the importance of innovation and technology in human resources for health. “Let us embrace and look into both eLearning and mLearning as better ways of teaching students on health,” she stated. Her sentiments were reiterated by Dr Ngatia, who stated that Amref is a pioneer in both eLearning and mLearning in health.
“Amref has been training health professions for over 20 years. In a good number of these years, we have cultured the concepts of eLearning and mLearning in many countries in Africa, in an attempt to standardise health worker training in the continent,” he explained.
Leah Kaburu, a representative from the Commission for University Education in Kenya was pleased by the steps Amref has taken towards becoming a recognised university. “I urge you, and all other universities, to be specific and true to your niche. Focus on your strong areas, and do not rush to design curriculums. Strong curriculum development should be based on research, experience and the needs of the people,” she explained.
Towards this end, Amref International University (AMIU) will focus on courses that respond to the severe shortage of health care providers and public health leaders in Africa. The identified niche goes hand in hand with the 60 years of experience the International NGO has in transforming lives in Africa by creating demand and encouraging better health services provision.
Amref is also at a unique position as it has vast experience in both eLearning and mLearning training in health. Further, the institution has footprints all over Africa, ensuring that standardisation of training and curriculum is seamless.
At the end of the two-day event, a committee was selected to help in the realisation of the objectives of the HRH-Kenya project. Dr Okello Angina, the Dean School of Medicine, Kenyatta University, was appointed the Chair of the committee.
Written by Michelle Dibo – Communications, Institute of Capacity Development.