By Masaina Bwakya, Change Management Associate, BID Initiative and Aketch Millicent, Clinician/Project Coordinator, Kenya Ministry of Health
Jan 19, 2017
The BID Learning Network convened in Uganda late last year for a design collaborative meeting focused on change management. Participants from across sub-Sahara Africa explored Kotter’s 8-Step Change Model to transform behaviors and organizational cultures; learned from each another and the BID Initiative experiences on what has been successful and challenging when implementing changes; and identified practical tools and strategies to facilitate change management.
These design collaborative meetings are critical to the BID Initiative since they enable us to learn from other countries to refine our solutions, keeping them relevant for other countries interested in improving their health programs through better data and decision-making.
Meeting participants had the opportunity to visit Kiyunga Health Centre in Luuka District to observe the success and impact of their electronic health system. Kiyunga Health Centre operates the Uganda Health Facility Management Information System (UHFMIS) to manage patient data.
Upon arrival at the health facility, the community volunteers welcomed us with a brief presentation of the health facility services, showing how deeply involved the community and the municipality are in clinic activities. The volunteers were very knowledgeable of facility workflows and processes and how the UHFMIS worked. We observed district supervisors providing supportive supervision to the health facility staff, which increases the likelihood of health system changes being sustainable in the Uganda health service, a strategy we have implemented with the BID Initiative.
In any change initiative, the involvement of all key stakeholders, especially those at the grassroots level, is vital. It’s also important that the stakeholders are aware of the individual benefits that accrue to each person. This gives impetus to the change management intervention.
What BLN participants observed at Kiyunga gave credence to the fact that stakeholders are meaningfully engaged and the new system being implemented is well on its way to success.
As the Clinician/Project Coordinator at the Ministry of Health in Kenya, attending the BLN meeting in Uganda was one of the highlights of my trainings this year. Learning about change management has put me at a new level as I manage my day-to-day work. Now, I am alert and aware of possible challenges I may face when implementing change and am equipped with the Kotter’s 8-Step Change Model to navigate those challenges.
In Kenya, as we consider implementing an electronic immunization system and standards. We have revisited the vision we created to ensure it is clear and the intended changes are well communicated as we proceed. New members are being added in the technical working group to ensure that the guiding team is inclusive and owns the process as they are key to influence positive change among others. We are keen to work with other partners to remove barriers and ensure that interoperability and system integration is achieved and hence quality immunization information is easily accessible and is being used to make decisions.
During the BLN meeting, I learned that documenting quick wins is crucial. Actively identifying quick wins as they occur is one strategy we intend to use to ensure that we keep moving forward and continue to motivate our team. The changes that we have started to implement will be institutionalized into the daily work flow at the health facility to ensure sustainability. I am happy that I attended the BLN meeting and I can’t stop sharing my notes and experience with my peers and colleagues. Kudos to BLN for the opportunity!