Features

iHRIS: Tracking over 475,000 Health Workers Worldwide

iHRIS

The world needs approximately 4.3 million additional health workers. Africa alone needs 1.4 million more. Having the right number of health workers, however, is not enough. How can countries ensure their health workers are in the right positions to care for their populations, and how can countries plan for future needs?

Picture this: the Ministry of Health asks the registrar at a nursing and midwifery council to provide the number of nurses currently licensed in the country. The council keeps folders of license application forms, sorted only by year. Some forms are missing or are not yet filed. The registrar stops everything and manually goes through the files, calculating the number of nurses available in the country. It takes a month.

But the number is inaccurate. It doesn’t take into account the nurses who migrated to other countries or those who have died or otherwise left the profession. It doesn’t consider the health workers that are double-counted because they registered at one level and then re-registered after obtaining a higher qualification. Even if the number were accurate, the registrar can’t tell where the nurses were trained, what kind of training they received, where they are practicing, or if they’re up-to-date on their license and education requirements—essential information to understand health workforce challenges and start planning to address them.  

This is but one example. Similar challenges are faced by health workforce managers and planners at a country’s ministry of health, national and regional hospitals, and district facilities.  

Health leaders in 12 countries are now using the iHRIS software (pronounced eye-ris) to track and manage over 475,000 health workers. Before getting iHRIS, most of these countries used manual filing systems, and health workforce data were difficult to access, aggregate, and analyze.


Click on the blue dots below to learn how 12 countries are using iHRIS and the number of health workers each is tracking (as of April 2012).

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Now, information at the click of a button

iHRIS is free, open source software specifically designed for use by ministries of health, professional health councils, and health facilities to understand and strengthen the health workforce. IntraHealth International, through the USAID global Capacity Project, launched the first iHRIS product in 2007, when IntraHealth recognized the need for accurate and accessible health workforce data at the country level. iHRIS is making the difference between not knowing where to start solving workforce challenges and getting started.

Two years ago in Nigeria, the nursing council used 18 paper registries, some with many volumes, to track information on the country’s qualified nurses and midwives. Now, Nigeria has the largest iHRIS installation with records on over 240,000 qualified health workers. Six years ago in Uganda, the registrar of the nursing and midwives council described aggregating information in their paper-based system as “a nightmare.” Now, Uganda tracks and manages data on over 69,000 health workers in various systems built on iHRIS.

Countries implementing iHRIS can access data for decision-making, including information about health workers’ distribution, age, gender, training, and specialty—all at the click of a button.

» Part 2: Customizable, open source software for health managers

Featured Countries
  • Mali
  • Ghana
  • Sierra Leone
  • Togo
  • Nigeria
  • Rwanda
  • Botswana
  • Lesotho
  • Uganda
  • Kenya
  • Tanzania
  • India
  • Mali
  • Ghana
  • Sierra Leone
  • Togo
  • Nigeria
  • Rwanda
  • Botswana
  • Lesotho
  • Uganda
  • Kenya
  • Tanzania
  • India
 
 

 

 
 
  • The Ministry of Health is using iHRIS Manage to better manage its health workforce, improve the tracking of health worker trainings, strengthen data quality, and support the annual budgeting process. Information on over 20,500 health workers is available in the system. IntraHealth's global project, CapacityPlus supports this work.
  • The West African Health Organization partnered with the Ghana Ministry of Health to conduct a pilot of iHRIS Manage in Ghana's Northern Region. Information on 2,490 health workers is available in the system. The Ministry is rolling out the system to the country's other regions. IntraHealth's global project, CapacityPlus, works with the West African Health Organization to support this work.
  • Kenya's health sector leaders are implementing iHRIS Manage to help strengthen health workforce planning and management. Data on 46,363 health workers are available in the system for decision-making. IntraHealth's Kenya Capacity project supports this work.
  • In India, the state governments of Bihar and Jharkhand recently piloted iHRIS Manage in one district each to improve the management and effectiveness of the health workforce. In Bihar, 42,285 health worker records, which includes health volunteers, are available in the system. Bihar is now rolling out the software to all 38 districts. In Jharkhand, 1904 health worker records are available in the system. Jharkhand is scaling up and, as a first phase activity, is collecting information on all doctors employed in the state. IntraHealth's Vistaar project supports this work.
  • The Ministry of Health and Social Welfare and it's service delivery partner, the Christian Health Association of Lesotho, are using iHRIS Manage to track information on 2,200 health workers.
  • The Ministry of Health's Directorate of Human Resources piloted a French version of iHRIS Manage in the Sikasso district of the Sikasso region, capturing data on 723 health workers. The software is now being rolled out to additional districts. IntraHealth's global project, CapacityPlus, and the West African Health Organization support this work.
  • The Nursing and Midwifery Council uses iHRIS Qualify to track and manage information on 242,328 nurses and midwives in the country. IntraHealth's global project, CapacityPlus, works with the West African Health Organization to support this work.
  • The Ministry of Health is implementing iHRIS Manage. Information on over 16,000 employed health workers is available in the system. IntraHealth's global project, CapacityPlus supports this work.
  • Sierra Leone is the newest country to implement iHRIS. The Ministry of Health and Sanitation is piloting iHRIS Manage in one district and recently started data collection. The World Health Organization provide funding support.
  • In Tanzania, several organizations that employ health workers are using THRIS, a customized version of iHRIS Manage, to track and manage 23,240 health workers. In mainland, the Prime Minister's Office of Regional and Local Government, the Christian Social Services Commission, the Association of Private Health Facilities in Tanzania, and The National Muslim Council of Tanzania are using the system. In Zanzibar, the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare is implementing THRIS. IntraHealth's Tanzania Human Resource Capacity Project supports THRIS implementation, customization, and roll out, while CapacityPlus partners with THRP to provide THRIS training for HR managers.
  • The Ministry of Health is implementing a French version of iHRIS Manage. Information on 10,274 health workers is available in the system. The West African Health Organization and the World Health Organization provide funding support.
  • Uganda is tracking over 69,000 health workers in its HRHIS, built on iHRIS Manage and iHRIS Qualify. Currently, HRHIS is installed at the Ministry of Health, 69 district health offices, the 4 health professional councils, 13 regional referral hospitals, 2 national referral hospitals, the Uganda Virus Research Institute, and the Uganda Blood Bank. IntraHealth's Uganda Capacity Program (UCP) provides technical assistance for the customization and implementation of HRHIS, while CapacityPlus assists the UCP to build stakeholder leadership and improve data quality and use.