Over 100 students from JKUAT’s School of Public Health, have undertaken an intensive hands-on training on identification, documentation and sharing of health knowledge within Kenyan counties. The students who are set to embark on their field attachments May 2019, are expected to use the knowledge and skills acquired during the workshop to assist counties document successful case studies with potential to foster service delivery within the devolved units.
The training was staged by the University in partnership with the Council of Governors (COG), through the Maarifa Centre. It was one of the initiatives rolled out by the CoG, to build capacity of counties in order to package existing knowledge, experiences and innovations into sharable products.
A 2016 self-assessment by the counties revealed gaps regarding sharing of existing knowledge in ways that could promote organizational learning and better performance.
Using interactive and participatory approach, the students were exposed to real cases with practical applications as registered by a section of counties. The students, for instance learned how Kericho County Referral Hospital reduced turnaround time for lab results through automated analyzers.
Other valuable cases studies were registered in Kisii County where the Level 6 hospital increased the numbers of customers served per day with a customer flow process; while in Nyeri, community health volunteers injected life into the pilot universal health coverage by registering hard to reach populations.
Commenting on the training, Munira Isaack who is pursuing Bachelor of Science in Community Health said she had learnt key documentation processes such as writing and video documentation.
“The skills can be used to better serve communities such as nomadic pastoralists in northern counties of Kenya. I am more confident now as a professional,” she said.
Another student Patrick Kinyumu said the workshop also equipped them with presentation skills and problem identification. He added that his understanding of devolution was equally enhanced. He hopes to use the new knowledge to deliver better services during his field attachment.
Speaking on the sidelines of the workshop on Tuesday April 2, 2019, Maarifa Centre Manager, Stephen Osingo noted that training was strategically aligned to tap into the ingenuity, creativity and versatility of the students towards actualizing devolution aspirations in the country.
“There are a number of innovations in the counties yet not much documentation has been done to bring such to the fore. We are working with universities and other partners to bridge that gap,” Osingo said.
“We are engaging our young people to deploy what they have learnt and help document devolution successes and experiences as they emerge,” he added.
Nyeri County Director of Health, Dr. Nelson Muriu noted that the students would significantly strengthen capacity of devolved entities to leverage actionable information and data for informed decision making.
Kericho County Referral Hospital Superintendent Dr. Cheruiyot Japhet said absence of quality, timely and relevant data in the counties had posed logistical challenges regarding planning and resource allocation.
“The trained students will also make better employees as they bring along additional skills and competencies,” Dr. Cheruiyot said.
The Dean, School of Public Health, Prof. Simon Karanja noted that the training sat well with JKUAT’s strategy of enhancing the quality of its graduates while creating necessary partnerships with counties to foster teaching and research for Kenya’s healthcare needs