Helping Hospitals Allocate Human Resources for Health: Rwanda

 {Photo Credit: Candide Tran Ngoc/MSH}Mr. Nkurunziza Justin, human resources manager at Kibungo Provincial Hospital in Rwanda.Photo Credit: Candide Tran Ngoc/MSH

The health workforce is the core of every health system. In Rwanda, where qualified clinical staff are in short supply—the country has an average of one nurse for every 1,500 inhabitants and one doctor per 15,306 citizens —efficiently allocating human resources is crucial to the provision of quality services.

To help guide and inform the distribution of staff throughout the health sector, the Rwandan Ministry of Health (MOH) has adopted the Integrated Human Resources Information System (iHRIS), a software program originally developed by IntraHealth. With support from the US Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded and MSH-led Integrated Health Systems Strengthening Project (IHSSP), the ministry has customized the software, provided training on its use to more than 90 health managers, and ensured close follow-up of its implementation in each of the 42 Rwandan hospitals.

Mr. Justin Nkurunziza is a Human Resources Manager at the Kibungo Provincial Hospital. He is in charge of managing a team of about 170 people in that institution and also oversees the personnel of the twelve health centers and six health posts supervised by the hospital, about 400 individuals in total.

Previously, one of his biggest challenges was to keep an updated registry of his employees using an Excel sheet. The twelve health centers rarely provided good data on their staff, and gathering information on the latest changes in their health workforce was difficult. The high turn-over of health workers complicated his work and he struggled to track the different sources of funding for workers’ salaries, which made it difficult to provide accurate and timely data to the MOH.

But in 2011 Mr. Nkurunziza was trained on the use of the iHRIS system. It has been used in Kibungo since early 2012, and has greatly simplified his work. The use of the software has allowed him to manage the tracking of employees in much less time and he can now support other programs in the hospital. Since the tool is available online, he can access the information when he is out of the office, thus preventing delays in reporting.