In 2021, the Kenyan LSTM team participated in one of Johnson & Johnson’s skill-based volunteering programs called ‘Global Pro Bono’ (GPB). The GPB program is a virtual skills-based volunteering program that channels J&J employees’ passions and talents to empower partner organizations working on the front lines of health to further advance the work of frontline health workers by pairing teams of J&J employees with selected partner organizations to help them build organizational capacity over a period of 12 weeks, spending 20% of their time.
Our participation last year was based on a cross sectional study we did in 2020 that looked at factors that determine retention of Emergency Obstetric and New-born Care (EmONC) -trained Skilled Health Personnel (SHP) in 5 project counties over 5 years. Based on these findings, the LSTM Kenya team received technical support from a team of J&J experts to further improve the capacity of County Health Management Teams (CHMT)/ government health facilities’ managers to manage retention of trained Skilled Health Personnel (SHP) especially nurses and midwives in the relevant departments for enhanced return on investment (training) and for improved maternal and new-born health outcomes. Finding from our study showed that there was a high volume of trained health personnel transitioning to work in other departments that did not employ the skills acquired. Only a third (36%) of them are still working in relevant maternity / newborn gynaecology departments. For a return on investment and for lasting impact of training in EmONC that LSTM has made in Kenya for over 10 years, counties and health facilities need to strengthen their trained SHP retention strategies. By doing so, skills acquired will be utilized appropriately for improved quality of care and better health outcomes.
Recommendations of the J&J GPB Team
We asked the J&J GPB team to look at how we can improve the capacity of the County Health Management Teams/ government health facilities’ managers and how to better manage the retention of trained Skilled Health Personnel- nurses and midwives- in the relevant departments for enhanced return on training investment and for improved maternal and newborn health outcomes. Some of the J&J GPB’s team’s recommendations were that county workplans and action points, for retention of EmONC-trained SHP, could be developed and owned by the CHMTs and Health managers and they should be encouraged to implement local strategies for staff deployment/transfers/replacement and retention based on key competencies of Service Health Providers including a skills training database.
Through the interventions and recommendations designed by the J&J GPB Team, CHMT Managers and Senior LSTM Technical staff will now have increased capacity to develop and manage staff training and deployment strategies, ensuring the optimal return on investment in training of SHP and contribute towards meeting the national and international development targets. Also relevant officers from the CHMTs, LSTM senior technical officers and Country Director, acquired improved skills to develop and influence the development of strategies to improve retention of EmONC trained staff in maternity care units.
Quote from a county Health Leader:
‘This was a collaborative & highly effective process that has yielded simple cost-effective, yet easy to use tools for staff management…’
County Health Official