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Kenya Government Appoints Emergency Health Workers to Permanent Positions

CHAPEL HILL, N.C., March 20 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Government of Kenya has approved a complete absorption of more than 870 health workers contracted over the past three years through an Emergency Hiring Plan to address the country's severe shortage of health professionals.

Designed to rapidly hire, train and deploy qualified workers to public health facilities using a private-sector outsourcing mechanism, the Emergency Hiring Plan was developed by the Capacity Project, a global initiative to strengthen human resources for health funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and led by IntraHealth International.

The government's action to appoint the contract workers to permanent positions in the public health care system ensures that the increased access to HIV/AIDS, family planning and other critical services gained through the emergency plan will continue. The initial group of workers hired through the plan -- whose three-year contracts were set to expire -- will not miss a paycheck.

"Words alone cannot express how deeply touched I am to witness this bold move by the Government of Kenya," says Kimani Mungai, IntraHealth's program director for the Capacity Project in Kenya. "Faced with famine, declining economic growth and a huge budget deficit, this move by our government indicates a deep commitment to health care service. When we started this whole process three years ago, sustainability was not even an issue -- we simply wanted to patch-up the depleting health workers. The successful absorption of these employees into the government system proves that it is possible to use innovation in solving the human resources for health crisis in Africa."

Reaching more than 200 health care facilities, many in remote locations, the Emergency Hiring Plan represents a partnership between Kenya's health ministry and the Capacity Project. The Project assisted the ministry to adopt new, more transparent and rapid hiring and training approaches, which reduced the normal deployment time for health workers from more than a year to less than six months.

"If the Emergency Hiring Plan employees were not absorbed as promised, many health facilities would have been closed," notes Samuel Kaloki of the Kenya Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation. "This would have resulted in a major crisis in those affected areas of the country. So this approval is a big boost to health service delivery and confirms that the Government of Kenya has fulfilled her longstanding commitment with development partners. We hope that this will challenge them further into opening up additional support to help us address our country's human resources for health crisis."

"We applaud the Kenyan government for its decision to absorb the health workers," says IntraHealth president and CEO Pape Gaye. "This represents both a real commitment to tackle the health worker crisis and a wonderful example of a successful public/private partnership. I expect many countries in sub-Saharan Africa will look at this model with interest. IntraHealth and the Capacity Project partners are proud to be part of this groundbreaking effort."

The Capacity Project, funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is implemented by IntraHealth International and partners IMA World Health, Jhpiego, Liverpool Associates in Tropical Health (LATH), Management Sciences for Health (MSH), PATH, and Training Resources Group, Inc. (TRG). The Project helps developing countries strengthen human resources for health to better respond to the challenges of implementing and sustaining quality health programs.

IntraHealth International has been improving public health in developing countries for nearly 30 years. The non-profit's mission is to create accessible, sustainable health care by preparing and supporting frontline health care workers. IntraHealth has worked to improve health in more than 50 countries, and receives funding and support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, private foundations, corporations and individuals.

SOURCE IntraHealth International
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