Strengthening Human Resources for Health-USAID HRH project
The Strengthening Human Resources for Health (HRH) project, is a five year (2012 – 2017) bilateral cooperative agreement with the overall goal of improving the human resources for health status in Ethiopia. The project is supporting the Government of Ethiopia by building local capacity for development of comprehensive and sustainable human resources for health systems through improving HRH management, increasing availability of competent health workers for which there is critical shortage, improving quality of training of health workers and generating evidence on human resources for health education and management.
This effort includes activities such as establishement of Health Science Education Development Centers (HSEDC) in Health Science Colleges (HSC) and universities, and supporting these centers via subgranting mechanisms to conduct relevant training for faculty, strenthgen curricula, etc., with a particular focus on Midwifery, Anesthesia, Health Extension Workers and other essential health workers. In addition, the project has a significant component focusing on research in various such as retention and motivation of health workers and graduating student competencies.
Cyndi Hiner, Jhpiego
During the summer of 2015, I had the opportunity of interning at the Jhpiego office in Addis Ababa. I arrived in Ethiopia in late June after struggling to get a business visa. Upon arrival in Addis Ababa, I started work the following day. I was in Ethiopia for a total of six weeks, as opposed to four months given the fact that I could not get a longer business visa.
While in Ethiopia, the project I worked on was on strengthening human resources for health. This project has four intermediate results, but I focused on the last intermediate result: “Generating evidence to inform HRH policies and practices”. I assisted the team in writing technical reports on health officers and medical doctors. The findings of the technical reports will be used to inform policies on the health workforce training and also on developing a national licensure examination for medical doctors. In addition to writing technical reports, I also participated in a one-week data collection trip. During this data collection trip, we went to three cities (Shashamanee, Gobe and Assella). I got the opportunity to interview deans and head of departments of health science colleges (HSCs) and of medical schools. This one-week data collection trip was the highlight of my internship. It was an eye opening experience as I got to witness some of the difficulties I had learned in class during my first year as a public health student. For example, I got the opportunity to see the challenges that are faced by data collectors in the developing world. Frequently, there was a discrepancy between the data collected from the registrars’ office and the information supplied by the head of departments. To overcome this discrepancy, our team mostly relied on the information given to us by the registrars’ office as they had the most updated information.
At the end of my time in Ethiopia, I returned to the Jhpiego office in Baltimore where I continued my internship. The remaining portion of my internship comprised of completing my technical reports and working on a literature review.
Overall, my time in Ethiopia was a great learning experience on a topic of interest to me: strengthening human resources for health. In the future, I will be a physician and I am hoping to return to my home country-Cameroon. A shortage of human resources for health is a problem that is heavily affecting developing countries and learning about ways to strengthen the human resources for health in a country will definitely help me in the long run. Not only did I learn through my internship, but I also thoroughly enjoyed Ethiopia and the culture. The people are extremely friendly and the culture is very rich. As a Cameroonian, it was definitely an enjoyable experience to visit another part of Africa and appreciate our similarities while noticing our differences.