Remarks by Jessica Long, U.S. Chargé d’Affaires at the Launch of the integrated Human Resources Information System (iHRIS)

Jessica Long, U.S. Chargé d’Affaires

Thank you for inviting me to this auspicious occasion.

I want to thank the Office of the Prime Minister for its technical guidance and support for this initiative; Mr. Ben Nangombe, Executive Director of the Ministry of Health and Social Services, for his leadership; Mr. Jeremia Nghipundjwa and Ms. Anna Isaacs for their day-to-day management and oversight; and all the MoHSS staff who I understand sacrificed several weekends in advance of this launch to make the shift from a paper-based to a digital HR management system a reality.

The United States Government is proud to support the Government of the Republic of Namibia and its Ministry of Health and Social Services in the development and launch of the integrated Human Resources Information System – or iHRIS – a web-based platform for managing Namibia’s health workforce.

iHRIS is funded by the United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, PEPFAR, and implemented by the United States Agency for International Development, USAID, via the Meeting Targets and Maintaining Epidemic Control project, or EpiC. iHRIS is used by Ministries, professional councils, and health service delivery organizations in more than 20 countries to track and manage workforce data to ultimately improve access to services.

Countries use it for workforce planning, management, regulation, and training. iHRIS will be an essential tool for Namibia, as the Ministry of Health and other stakeholders continue to strive toward the achievement of Universal Health Coverage. The Ministry of Health and partners support around 20,000 health workers. Recent experiences with COVID-19 have underscored the need for an accurate and up-to-date information system that allows for rapid tracking, training, and mobilization of that workforce.

Knowing who your workers are and where they operate is essential for responding to immediate challenges, sustaining gains into the future, and planning for disease outbreaks, such as COVID-19, and other diseases that may emerge in the future.

iHRIS will modernize how health workers are hired, managed, and deployed across Namibia and enable the health system to be more responsive to the needs of all Namibians. It is built on a flexible platform that allows users to customize it to the specific requirements of a country and its population. Namibia’s iHRIS has been and will continue to be adapted to meet Namibia’s needs. The system is also interoperable, meaning that it can interact with other government systems or records, including those outside of the Ministry of Health.

Most significantly, iHRIS is a fully sustainable tool that is owned and operated by the Namibian Government and the Ministry of Health and Social Services. It is open-sourced, which means that Namibia will not pay licensing fees or be dependent on any one company or individual for future use.

This is a key deliverable of USAID’s EpiC project – ensuring that Ministry of Health and other government staff can adapt and use iHRIS without the need for external support.

With iHRIS, vital health worker information will be instantly available to those that need it. Human Resources staff will be able to review and update personnel records. Managers will be able to more strategically deploy resources to where they are needed most. Decision-makers will have the data at their fingertips to more efficiently develop long-term policies, plans, and budgets.

The bottom line is that you can’t effectively respond to a health crisis without real time information of where the need is greatest; this system will provide that information.

Perhaps most importantly, Namibia’s health workers will be able to focus more time on delivering high quality patient care, and less on carrying out paper-based administrative functions. Namibia often serves as a success story for U.S. Government support. Our partnership with the Namibian government has yielded incredible successes, especially in controlling existing and emerging epidemics like HIV, Tuberculosis and COVID-19.

We are now more than ever committed to supporting the Namibian government and other stakeholders through innovative initiatives such as the iHRIS.  This is another example of the United States’ commitment to partnering with governments around the world to advance health security in sustainable ways. This new state-of-the-art HR management system will ensure that Namibia has a workforce that is appropriately trained, strategically deployed, and efficiently overseen in the country to provide quality health care to all that need it.

Thank you.