Training Management Information System as a Tool for Addressing Public Health Workforce needs and rational deployment in India.

Author(s) Nidhi Chaudhary1, Srilekha Chakrabarty2, Gaurav Sharma3, Linh Cu Le4, Dineke Venekamp5.
Affiliation(s) 1ITS Project, Center for Integrated Services and Program Science, Futures Group International India Pvt Ltd, Chandigarh, India, 2ITS Project, Center for Integrated Services and Program Science, Futures Group International India Pvt Ltd, New Delhi, India, 3Centre for Health Informatics, National Institute of Health and Family Welfare, New Delhi, India, 4ITS Project, KIT, Netherlands, New Delhi,India, 5ITS Project, Center for Integrated Services and Program Science, Futures Group International India Pvt Ltd, New Delhi, India.
Country - ies of focus India
Relevant to the conference tracks Health Workforce
Summary Skills based training of health personnel and task shifting have been two strategies under NRHM to address the shortfall of human resources in health in India. Training Management Information system, a web based “single window” software application was developed to create a nationwide database for health personnel that can be updated in real time at the training centres. The TMIS software pilot, launched in five states, helps collate individual level training information about each health personnel as well as health facility level information about the availability of trained health personnel. The TMIS facilitates monitoring and decision making for the policy makers and program managers.
What challenges does your project address and why is it of importance? India finds itself ranked 52 of the 57 countries facing a Human Resources for Health (HRH) crisis. India’s major limitation has been in the production and distribution of human resources across multiple levels of care. As of March 2010, the overall HRH shortfalls range from 63% for specialists to 10% for allopathic doctors, and 9% for Auxiliary Nurse Midwives (ANMs), respectively.
Health curricula in the country have not kept pace with the changing dynamics of public health, health policies and demographics. The ANM and General Nursing & Midwifery (GNM) curricula have only twice been revised in the past 40 years. Current medical and nursing graduates in the country, trained in urban environments, are ill-prepared and unmotivated to practice in rural settings.
The health reforms under National Rural Health Mission (NRHM), include a focus on skills based training of existing health staff and task shifting to meet the shortfall for the health workforce. However, there are challenges in terms of identifying appropriate candidates for trainings, incomplete database on training status of health personnel, equity in professional development opportunities, rational posting of trained personnel and post training performance follow up of trained personnel.
How have you addressed these challenges? Do you see a solution? The National Institute of Health and Family Welfare is the nodal agency for conducting, coordinating and monitoring performance of various trainings conducted under NRHM. The EU supported Institutional and Technical Support Project (ITS) is providing technical assistance for institutional capacity strengthening of the National and eight State Institutes of Health and Family Welfare (NIHFW, SIHFWs). The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) identified quality assurance of trainings as one of the expected outputs under the ITS project which would strengthen the NIHFW and SIHFWs.
The Training Management Information System (TMIS) is a web based software application, developed by the ITS project, for nationwide database of skilled human resource to strengthen the public sector health delivery system. The TMIS will help to plan and manage RCH trainings under NRHM, rationalise deployment of trained personnel in different health facilities and strengthen monitoring of quality of training.
The web based TMIS software help collate individual personnel level training information as well as health facility level information about availability of trained health personnel. The TMIS software has two parts - dynamic and static. The dynamic section automates the data related to human resource, trainers, participants, training centres, health facilities and type of training. The real time trainings’ data is captured, updated and generates district, state and national level training reports. It integrates sms alerts to trainers and participants. The static section includes all the documents related to trainings like training guidelines, training manuals, course content, training calendars, circulars and other relevant online material.
TMIS addresses the problem of the re-entry of existing HR and training data collected over the years in excel format by bulk uploading the same into TMIS software. The TMIS facilitates monitoring and decision making for the policy makers and program managers at all levels. It will help to recommend corrective actions based on the analysis of the human resource skills gap.
In the long run, TMIS will facilitate tracking of the resource pool of trainers and of the trained personnel through GIS mapping facilitating monitoring, better planning and resource optimization. The report generated through the software will help in monitoring and evaluating the achievement in reaching MDGs.
How do you know whether you have made a difference? The user training and pilot launch of TMIS has been done in five states – Odisha, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh from April to June 2013. The SIHFWs are the nodal agencies for TMIS management at the state level. In total, 443 district and state level data entry operators were trained on the use of the TMIS software, data preparation, data cleaning and online-entry. The database software built on SQL server platform (using .NET framework) using key variables such as: trainees, trainers, training courses at different levels of health system in India which is available on the NIHFW website. To date, basic human resources data of at least 77 districts from 5 pilot states has been collected by the district data entry operators and centrally uploaded on the software by the team at NIHFW. This uploading of the human resource data is a one time activity which will be followed by online real time updates on personnel trainings. Draft user manuals and technical training documents for TMIS software have been developed. A help desk has been set up centrally at NIHFW for answering queries of the state. The help desk has received on average at least 40 queries per month from 5 states in the last 3 months. The TMIS software has been demonstrated to all national program managers at MoHFW and has been modified to meet the needs of both national and state level authorities.
In the select districts which have started using TMIS, the health department is able to nominate appropriate candidates, facilitate post training placements and name based tracking of health professionals. The sms alerts to the trainers and participants before the trainings and the instant online certificate generation through TMIS has already streamlined the training process and has overcome the limitations of manual compilation of training data in the country. The detailed pilot data report on utilisation and application of TMIS will be available by December 2013 and will be presented in the conference. However, to date all the health authorities at pilot states have shown great enthusiasm and provided positive feedback about the practicability and effectiveness of this application.
Have you or the project mobilized others and if so, who, why and how? Through the ITS project we have mobilised the resources at the NIHFW and SIHFWs for implementing the TMIS application. The existing staff at NIHFW and SIHFW have been trained as master trainers for training further district data entry operators. Two staff at NIHFW have been identified to act as a help desk for states and support the TMIS tasks of bulk uploading of human resource data. Similarly SIHFW’s nodal officers for TMIS have been identified and state data entry operators have been trained to address minor issues that the district level operators may encounter. The NIHFW and SIHFW infrastructure was leveraged for conducting trainings. With the TMIS deployed at state and district levels, the health authority would be equipped with a useful tool to manage training activities on-site. Further use of TMIS and integration with existing human resources for health database can speed up better manpower management and utilisation.
When your donor funding runs out how will your idea continue to live? The sustainability plan for TMIS has been developed for 10 years and presented to NIHFW and MOHFW for formal approval. The TMIS sustainability plan specifically aims to: build up a TMIS team in the NIHFW to maintain a national/country wide database of skilled and trained human resources; assist decision makers and stakeholders to perform gap analysis of trained human resource in public health sector delivery system; maintain a Government to Government (G2G) web based application for monitoring and planning of skilled and trained health care providers and create a foundation (if required) to make TMIS cell at NIHFW to become a “centre of excellence” in Health Information Systems. The involvement of policy makers at the national level through regular interaction to exchange inputs into TMIS design, meeting with different program divisions, and the implementation of health facility hierarchy of established ministry level software Health Management Information System (HMIS) into TMIS indicate that TMIS is viewed as useful tool by MoHFW. The MoHFW has expressed their commitment in scaling the application to a national level after the pilots. The Steering Committee meeting, chaired by the Joint Secretaries of MoHFW responsible for training, and NRHM will be allocating financial resources from the next financial year.
Based on the request from MoHFW, ITS team visited a non ITS intervention state of Tamil Nadu to explore the integration of TMIS with existing Human Resource Management Information System. It is planned that further customisation of TMIS at national and state level may even enable the users to get routine statistics on training activities going on at each level, to generate automatic reports as well as get better overview of training needs and relevant demands at each geographic regions. The TMIS would certainly help human resource development and management in India in the long run.

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