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Integrating Faith-Based and Nongovernmental Organizations Print E-mail

Cross-Cutting Initiatives / Integrating Faith-Based and Nongovernmental Organizations

In many countries in Africa, faith-based organizations (FBOs) provide between 30-70% of health care services. Since FBOs often continue to be grouped with private or nongovernmental organization (NGO) health care providers, they remain under-recognized for their immense contribution to the national health sector, accounting for between 30-80% of nonphysician health worker training in many African countries. FBOs are thus a key link in sustainability of accessible health care and represent huge potential in the effort to strengthen human resources for health (HRH).

The Capacity Project worked to increase the number of countries in which FBOs are building national capacity in HRH. The African Christian Health Associations (CHAs)’ Technical Working Group on HRH provided an entry point and structure for the Project’s technical assistance. During an initial regional meeting of CHAs in 2004, 14 CHAs representing 12 countries committed to focus on HRH. Nearly five years later, the number of CHAs participating had increased to 17, representing 15 countries. The Project’s FBO partnerships strengthened HRH advocacy efforts as evidenced by seven of the CHAs elevating the role of HR manager to a senior position.

Major results areas included the CHA Technical Working Group on HRH, HRH mapping in Tanzania and an FBO HRH strengthening model in Kenya.

Lessons learned:

  1. International donor misconceptions about FBO networks and their capacity to contribute to HRH solutions must continue to be addressed.
  2. FBOs should be fully integrated into Ministry of Health policy and programs.
  3. HR positions within FBOs should be elevated in light of the emerging data on HRH promising practices and the key role HR plays; they should also be included in building HR management reference groups with the public sector and NGOs.
  4. FBO documentation and reporting should be strengthened.
  5. The role and importance of FBOs, especially in under-served areas, is very important to addressing HRH shortages.
  6. FBOs are an important vehicle for longer-term sustainability of HRH-related efforts.
  7. FBOs can often leverage resources that strengthen HRH efforts (e.g., the Project assisted training and deployment of 11 Sudanese diaspora doctors in Southern Sudan).

Learn more about the Project's FBO results.

Related resources:

See other areas in Cross-Cutting Initiatives: Global Partnerships; Gender Equity and Equality

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