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Advocating integrated workforce planning in Africa

Published: 10.03.2017

Delegates at COECSA

Photo courtesy: Terry Cooper

Last month saw the third Advocacy Capacity Building Workshop for Human Resources for eye health (HReH) in Africa in Lome, Togo, bringing to a close the first tranche of capacity building. Fourteen countries have now benefitted from this process, comfortably exceeding our initial target of ten set back in 2014. This, in addition to our advocacy work with six countries in the challenging Central Africa sub-region, has produced impressive results.

The Lome workshop, generously funded by CBM and Orbis through the IAPB Workshop budget, brought together the Directors of HRH, selected INGOs and the National Eye Care Coordinators from Togo, Benin and Ethiopia. They were provided with the knowledge and tools that would enable them to identify and develop an advocacy strategy for addressing the human resources for eye health crisis in their countries. This strategy foresees the integration of HReH in the national HRH plan, along with a budget allocation in support of a major paradigm shift whereby Ministries of Health assume a greater responsibility for their workforce.

The Lome workshop took a new approach in that the Directors of HRH were trained. Previously advocacy advisors were trained, who would then work with the Directors of HRH. This new approach brings the Directors of HRH directly into the process and has already proven to be a success in Ethiopia where Dr. Tsehaynesh Tiruneh (Technical Advisor for Eye Health) the NECC, has reported back that, “After the meeting, I communicated with persons in HRD. They have developed an HRH plan and even though it is already endorsed they have promised to include HReH into the existing HRH document. To proceed with our advocacy on the above and other important issues, we have to develop steering committee from our NCPB and human resource directorate.”

Delegates at the workshop in LomeTo date, IAPB Africa has trained advocacy advisors for Senegal, Ghana, Kenya, Cameroon, Mozambique, Mali, Burkina Faso and Malawi. Of these, seven countries have succeeded in integrating HReH into HRH and three are already implementing the integrated plan. By the end of 2018, the goal for the IAPB Africa team is ten countries with an integrated HRH plan and five countries implementing their plan so progress is on track for exceeding these targets.

In May 2017, IAPB Africa will hold an advocacy round-up workshop with key stakeholders from the fourteen pilot countries to review progress; lessons learnt and document case studies. This will be a unique opportunity for all the participating countries to network, share experiences and to support each other in achieving their national goals to provide adequate, well trained, eye health cadres that are available where they are most needed. 

Photo on the left: Delegates at the Lome workshop