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Dykki Settle, HRIS Leader, CapacityPlus Health Informatics

Dykki Settle, HRIS Leader, Capacity<i>Plus</i> Health Informatics

“It’s challenging to be enthusiastic about human resources information, but what can be done with it when it’s effective and accurate is just enormous,” says Dykki Settle, human resources information systems (HRIS) leader of the CapacityPlus Health Informatics team. “It goes beyond training a single health worker—beyond even getting one recruited. It gives a country the ability to make long-term substantial decisions about its entire health workforce.”

In 2001, Dykki became director of information technology at IntraHealth. In 2005, at the start of the Capacity Project, he was charged with building a workforce planning tool. Dykki gathered initial information during visits to many IntraHealth offices in Africa, including those in Uganda, Rwanda, and Tanzania. “I determined very quickly that workforce planning was going to be hard,” he notes. He realized that many ministries of health did not have a system in place to capture current, accurate data about their workforce—necessary for workforce planning.

Dykki began looking at the available packages of human resources software, but, he explains, “they were all designed to help the US government or large corporations that didn’t want to do any adaptation or customization themselves, as opposed to a country which really needs to do a lot of both.”

One of Dykki’s dreams was to bring Open Source approaches to developing countries so that source codes for the software would be freely available and could be modified as users or developers wished. Dykki proposed developing Open Source database software that countries could use to track health workers, which has, he says, “continued to be the right decision to this day.”

In the years since, Dykki led the IntraHealth team that developed iHRIS, an Open Source software suite that gives health sector leaders the information needed to assess human resources problems and plan and evaluate effective interventions.

During Dykki’s nearly ten years at IntraHealth, he has seen the successes that technology and better information can bring. “All of the development work we’ve done with human resources systems has been taken and used,” he says. Dykki believes the ultimate goal is to develop a system and train its users so that they are strong enough to stand on their own. “I love this work because I finally feel like I’m building something that others can really use, something that can truly thrive and grow on its own.”