strengthening africa’s faith-based health networks

IMA World Health participated in the 7th biennial conference of the Africa Christian Health Associations Platform (ACHAP) Feb. 23 to 26 in Nairobi, Kenya. ACHAP hosted the conference in collaboration with the Christian Health Association of Kenya (CHAK) and with support from various health and development partners.


The theme of the conference was “The role of faith based health services in contributing to universal health coverage in Africa.” It was attended by over 20 of ACHAP’s member institutions (Christian Health Associations) from 26 countries as well as local, regional, and international partners and donors including the World Health Organization, World Bank, UNAIDS, and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

Accomplishments from IMA’s participation at the conference include:
  • Successful support to ACHAP’s conference, which led to opportunities to continue building ACHAP capacity.
  • Formation of the ACHAP HIV/AIDS Technical Working Group due to IMA’s strong advocacy for faith-based organization
    (FBO) engagement in HIV/AIDS issues at the conference.
  • Continued engagement with Christian Health Associations (CHAs) on existing and future work opportunities for strengthening health systems, such as the AIDSFree Project.
  • Appointment of IMA President Rick Santos as a member of the ACHAP Advisory Group, a new group created to support the ACHAP Board of Directors to achieve the organizational mission through support of ideas, contacts, and resource mobilization strategies.

 

IMA has and continues to work to strengthen the capacity of ACHAP and the CHA network through various project initiatives. Highlights of IMA’s engagement with faith-based organizations include strengthening human resources for health, health service delivery, emergency response, behavioral change and communication, and HIV/AIDS response. We also work to strengthen mapping of FBO assets and global advocacy.

“IMA deeply values the Christian Health Associations and their rich history and faith-based identity. IMA’s involvement with ACHAP is a cornerstone of our commitment to strategic partnerships. The Christian Health Associations play a crucial role in providing health care across Africa, and we are thrilled to be a part of that life-saving work.”

— Rick Santos, IMA World Health President and CEO

ACHAP is an advocacy and networking platform improving knowledge sharing and joint learning among Christian Health Associations (CHAs) and Church Health Networks in Sub-Saharan Africa. CHA networks have a long history of working within developing countries to provide health care services to populations in need, and they form the integral link between the Ministry of Health and the faith-based health care facilities.

Encouraged to Press on for the Health Workforce in Africa

IMA sponsored a dinner meeting for the ACHAP Human Resources for Health Technical Working Group (HRH TWG) on February 24, 2015 in Nairobi during the 7th ACHAP Biennial Conference, providing a good opportunity for the TWG to reflect on its activities over the last two years.

The ACHAP HRH TWG serves as a technical reference group on HRH issues identified as key and common among Christian Health Associations in Africa. The TWG was set up in 2007 and was supported by IMA World Health and the USAID-funded CapacityPlus project until June 2014. IMA continues to provide support.

During the meeting, members received updates on the CapacityPlus-sponsored FBO study on HR management policies conducted through the Christian Health Association of Kenya and were encouraged to learn from the findings, such as the increased recognition of HR management functions and departments.

The group also heard a presentation from the Christian Health Association of Malawi (CHAM) on its ongoing progress in applying the CapacityPlus productivity toolkit, as well as presentations on other great initiatives this enthusiastic team of FBO HRH leaders in Africa had been implementing.
The discussions showed how the TWG has made important strides, such as the development and publication of key HRH messages targeted at FBO leaders, Skype calls on thematic areas, and exchange visits to benchmark and learn how to replicate best practices, among others. The meeting participants discussed the need for further deliberation on how the TWG can continue to grow and reflect the entire ACHAP network.

Following the meeting, the HRH TWG reported having renewed energy to take ownership of ACHAP’s 7th Biennial Conference commitment statement for universal health coverage: “Address HRH issues and challenges taking into consideration appropriate incentive schemes.”

local partners excel in comprehensive HIV and aids service delivery (lead) project

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, PEPFAR | 2012 – 2016 | $8.7 million

IMA strengthens the capacity of 32 health facilities in 3 regions—Mara, Manyara and Tanga—to provide comprehensive HIV care and treatment services. The key program areas covered include adult care and treatment; pediatric care and treatment; TB/HIV; and laboratory infrastructure. The project provides onsite mentorship to health care workers (HCWs) on early identification of  HIV-infected adults and children, linkage into care, and retention in care and treatment to increase the number of people receiving HIV care and treatment.

KEY 2015 ACHIEVEMENTS
180,000 clients recieved HIV care, including 6,000 children
10,000 clients were newly enrolled into HIV care and treatment including 300 children below age 15
176,000 HIV patients were screened for tuberculosis using the National Screening Tool. About 1,000 patients were confirmed to have active TB and were initiated on TB treatment
four health facilities recieved recognition of quality improvement under the Strengthening Laboratory Management Toward Accredidation (SLMTA) program

CAPACITYPLUS

USAID | 2009 – 2015 | $1,277,351

CapacityPlus was launched in 2009 to focus on increasing and strengthening the health workforce.  For the past six years, IMA has led efforts to develop and support faith-based organizations (FBOs)—which own and operate an estimated 30-70% of health care facilities in Africa—in managing their human resources for health.
Most notably, IMA provided technical support to the Africa Christian Health Associations Platform (ACHAP), a network organization of 26 Christian Health Associations (CHAs) by facilitating the sharing of information and human resource expertise among ACHAP members and the larger FBO community.

CapacityPlus held an interactive event in October 2014 at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, to present and share the role and best practices of faith-based organizations and to advance the dialogue for overcoming key challenges to scaling up Africa’s health workforce for better health services and outcomes.

KEY 2015 ACHIEVEMENTS
  • Supply chain assessment conducted for Christian Health Association of Liberia (CHAL) that maps the way forward by presenting key considerations and options to inform decisions for future investments in CHAL’s supply chain system. CHAL has since engaged with other donors on rebuilding based on this report.
  • Health Workforce Productivity Analysis and improvement process conducted for Christian Health Association of Malawi (CHAM) in nine health facilities. The process measured health workforce productivity; analyzed the problems and their underlying causes; and determined appropriate interventions to improve health worker productivity within their respective facilities. Using findings from the assessment, CHAM has managed to leverage donor support it receives through other projects to be able to act on a number of prioritized interventions to address health facility inefficiencies and low patient demand.
  • Conducted a half day dissemination event titled “A Strong Health Workforce for Africa: Building effective partnerships with FBOs” to highlight our significant efforts to strengthen the health workforce of faith-based organizations, particularly CHAs. The event was highly visible to USAID and other stakeholders.