JK Chime, P Munyati, M Katepa-Bwalya, M Musumali, B Mweetwa, S Kagulura, JS Kachimba, B Vwalika, J Mufunda
Background: Health system strengthening continues to be a moving target for developing countries with the human resource factor the most critical bottleneck towards universal health coverage. The human resource management cycle revolves around three interdependent factors: production, recruitment, deployment and retention. The most elusive is retention where both monetary and non-monetary reward systems are equally important. The purpose of this is to document establishment of e-learning as a tool for online skills transfer to address retention of health workers in a cost- effectively.
Methods: This prospective study analyses the process of establishing an e-learning facility in Central Province of Zambia. Visitations of the site in the PEPFAR (US President Emergency Plan for Aids Relief in Africa) sponsored Chainama College of Health Sciences, Kabwe Campus premises and technical inputs and specifications were documented.
Results: The Ministry of Health maximized the prevailing thriving partnership in the health sector by allocating accommodation to e-learning using resources from RMNCH Trust Fund with the WHO dedicating technical support for this concept in close liaison with Ministry of Health officials in Central Province. The facility can accommodate 36 students and is earmarked to be a training facility equipped with appropriate equipment and software to cater for the entire spectrum of diseases and conditions in Zambia. This is an institution which can support the human resource cycle of production, recruitment, deployment and retention, an innovation that be scaled up to address national retention needs.
Discussion: E-learning has ushered a sustainable modality of skills transfer to many areas including human resources for health. The government has successfully engaged cooperating partners in Zambia to implement this improvision in the health sector. The WHO has played its part in ensuring that the critical health resource for health pillar of health systems is addressed.
Conclusion: Zambia health sector is instituting an intervention that can improve retention of health workers using non-financial motivation through sustainable e- learning.