Objective. To describe the development, initial findings, and implications of a national nursing workforce database system in Kenya.
Principal Findings. Creating a national electronic nursing workforce database provides more reliable information on nurse demographics, migration patterns, and workforce capacity. Data analyses are most useful for human resources for health (HRH) planning when workforce capacity data can be linked to worksite staffing requirements. As a result of establishing this database, the Kenya Ministry of Health has improved capability to assess its nursing workforce and document important workforce trends, such as out-migration. Current data identify the United States as the leading recipient country of Kenyan nurses. The overwhelming majority of Kenyan nurses who elect to out-migrate are among Kenya's most qualified.
Conclusions. The Kenya nursing database is a first step toward facilitating evidence-based decision making in HRH. This database is unique to developing countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Establishing an electronic workforce database requires long-term investment and sustained support by national and global stakeholders.