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Open Access Research article

Are Health Facility Management Committees in Kenya ready to implement financial management tasks: findings from a nationally representative survey

Evelyn Waweru1*, Antony Opwora1, Mitsuru Toda1, Greg Fegan12, Tansy Edwards3, Catherine Goodman14 and Sassy Molyneux12

Author Affiliations

1 Kenya Medical Research Institute - Wellcome Trust Research Programme, Nairobi, Kenya

2 Centre for Tropical Medicine, Nuffield Department of Clinical Medicine, University of Oxford, CCVTM, Oxford OX3 7LJ, UK

3 Department for Infectious and Tropical Diseases, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, London, UK

4 Department for Global Health and Development, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, London, UK

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BMC Health Services Research 2013, 13:404  doi:10.1186/1472-6963-13-404

Published: 10 October 2013

Abstract

Background

Community participation in peripheral public health facilities has in many countries focused on including community representatives in Health Facility Management Committees (HFMCs). In Kenya, HFMC roles are being expanded with the phased implementation of the Health Sector Services Fund (HSSF). Under HSSF, HFMCs manage facility funds which are dispersed directly from central level into facility bank accounts. We assessed how prepared HFMCs were to undertake this new role in advance of HSSF roll out, and considered the implications for Kenya and other similar settings.

Methods

Data were collected through a nationally representative sample of 248 public health centres and dispensaries in 24 districts in 2010. Data collection included surveys with in-charges (n = 248), HFMC members (n = 464) and facility users (n = 698), and record reviews. These data were supplemented by semi-structured interviews with district health managers in each district.

Results

Some findings supported preparedness of HFMCs to take on their new roles. Most facilities had bank accounts and HFMCs which met regularly. HFMC members and in-charges generally reported positive relationships, and HFMC members expressed high levels of motivation and job satisfaction. Challenges included users’ low awareness of HFMCs, lack of training and clarity in roles among HFMCs, and some indications of strained relations with in-charges. Such challenges are likely to be common to many similar settings, and are therefore important considerations for any health facility based initiatives involving HFMCs.

Conclusion

Most HFMCs have the basic requirements to operate. However to manage their own budgets effectively and meet their allocated roles in HSSF implementation, greater emphasis is needed on financial management training, targeted supportive supervision, and greater community awareness and participation. Once new budget management roles are fully established, qualitative and quantitative research on how HFMCs are adapting to their expanded roles, especially in financial management, would be valuable in informing similar financing mechanisms in Kenya and beyond.

Keywords:
Health facility management committees; Direct facility funding; Community participation; Community accountability