The One Health Systems Mapping and Analysis Resource Toolkit (OH-SMART) workshop was held to review the workforce technical and cross-sectoral training gaps in Rwanda and introduce the OH-SMART tool. The workshop was opened by the Principal of the College of Medicine and Health Sciences, Dr. Leiticia who thanked the organizers of the workshop and commended OHCEA and One Health Workforce/UMN for introducing the OH-SMART to Rwanda.
The Workforce Needs Assessment consultant, Dr. Rogers Bayingana presented an analysis of the workforce needs; a synthesis of information obtained from various policy documents, reports and research within the animal, human and environment sectors. He pointed out several sector-specific, cross-sectoral, institutional and other gaps identified during the assessment. This provided a good starting point for the participants to contribute more insights and discuss implications of the identified gaps and needs.
With the assessment findings presented and the participants now clear on where the country stands in terms of workforce needs, facilitators from the University of Minnesota presented the OH-SMART. The OH-SMART is a 6-step process to create detailed system maps used to identify gaps and opportunities, and strengthen system operations. For a practical approach to learning how the OH-SMART works, facilitators used the identified priority diseases for Rwanda. It was pointed out that OH-SMART allows cross-agency networks to create a shared understanding of the One Health system, and using an interactive mapping process, build consensus on best practices and standardized operating procedures for current and future cross-sectoral work and collaboration. The OH-SMART Process involves; identifying cross-sectoral networks, setting the stage through ‘key-stakeholder’ interviews, defining the system through process mapping, analyzing the system through multi-agency workshops, identifying opportunities to strengthen system operations and finally developing an implementation plan. Several table-top and group activities were held to better explain the OH-SMART processes (for example cultural awareness and social styles exercises). In the end, participants were able to develop action plans for their specific group’s chosen priority disease.
As the workshop concluded, the following were some of the recommended next steps;
- OHCEA, in partnership with USAID Preparedness and Response and the Rwanda National One Health Steering Committee plan for a validation workshop
- Report to be finalized after validation workshop by Dr. Rogers Bayingana; the consultant and shared with USAID OHW/OHCEA.
- The National One Health Steering Committee distributes widely the Workforce Planning report to all sectors to bring everybody on board
- The process of drafting workforce planning outputs for scientific publications should commence
There were suggestions to have some of the action points in the Action Plan developed during the OH-SMART process taken on by EPT 2 partners during Year 4 implementation.
The One Health Steering Committee and partners should use the developed Action Plan to reach out to potential funding agencies to support unfunded actions. For instance, WHO, FAO (especially AMR); CDC and FAO (on FELTP-V), etc.
Participants proposed writing a multi-sectoral One Health grant.
The workshop was closed by the Vice Chair of the Rwanda One Health Steering Committee, Dr Tony Mudakikwa. In his remarks, he thanked workshop organizers and facilitators from University of Minnesota, OHCEA, University of Rwanda and the local facilitators for a job well-done. He also expressed his gratitude and congratulated workshop participants from various government institutions and partners for their active participation and teamwork spirit. He urged members to continue this team spirit even beyond the workshop.
He emphasized that though the OH SMART exercise was not an easy job, it was done in a professional way and it succeeded because both government and partner institution participants were satisfied with the workshop outcome. He promised that the Government of Rwanda, through the One Health Steering Committee will always be happy to work and provide its support for One Health initiatives.
He reminded participants that the workshop outcome will serve to both address the identified gaps within the institutions and also act as evidence to advocate for further funding from Government of Rwanda and partners. He concluded by promising that the OHSC will follow up on the activities already started and where needed involve senior government officials to ensure their completion.