- The county government will be providing Sh2,500 while the national government provides an equal amount that will enable each of the workers to get a Sh5,000 stipend per month.
- Governor Anne Waiguru has said her administration has already factored in the health volunteers’ remuneration in next financial year’s budget.
Kirinyaga County Community Health Volunteers are set to receive a monthly stipend in a cost sharing arrangement that will see the national and county government fund the programme.
Governor Anne Waiguru has said her administration has already factored in the health volunteers’ remuneration in next financial year’s budget.
This will see about 2,000 CHVs start receiving their pay from July this year. She further said the volunteers have since been given a new reference term and they will now be called Community Health Promoters.
At the same time, the CHVs will be equipped with standardised medical kits holding tools that can undertake basic tests such as for blood pressure, sugar levels and temperature.
In the programme Waiguru said the county government will be providing Sh2,500 and an equal amount will also be given by the national government. Each of the workers will then get a stipend of Sh5,000 per month.
The governor said the volunteers form a critical component of healthcare service delivery in the county since they are the first point of contact for patients in the community. She added that they play an important role in promotion of healthy communities through educating the public on disease prevention and control as well as hygiene.
Community Health Promoters in the county have received the news with joy and appreciation saying it will relieve them of the burden they have had to carry in the course of their community service.
Though many of them have relentlessly served their communities for years, they have been encountering challenges especially when it comes to funding expenses such as airtime or transport.
“We are now very happy that the government has decided to give us some money to facilitate our work. It will go a long way in enabling us serve our communities better. The stipend will enable us meet the cost of airtime we use when coordinating our services in the grassroots,” said Rubi Mohammed, a community health volunteer in Kutus.
She pointed out that their work revolves around visiting households and finding out whether there are health issues that need to be addressed. In case of situations that they cannot address at home, they refer the cases to the nearest health facility for management.
Each of the volunteer is attached to a Level 2 health facility within the locality and also works together with the county’s Community Health Workers.
Rubi’s counterpart, Njeru Thiga who is in charge of Kanjata community health unit in Nyangati ward, said each of the community health worker takes care of around 100 households. He said he has dedicated Tuesdays and Fridays as the days he visits them but he is always available to attend to any emerging issues any day.
“I believe when my community is healthy, I am also healthy,” said Njeru, thanking the government for looking into their plight and considering to give them a stipend as well as equip them for their work.
County Health Executive George Karoki acknowledged that community health volunteers help a great deal when it comes to making follow-ups on patients on mandatory treatment for ailments such as TB and HIV. Such follow up care has led to reduction of cases of people who suffer or die as a result of not taking medication.
“They also follow up on pregnant women to ensure they are attending their antenatal clinics accordingly and they deliver their babies in a health centre. After delivery, the volunteers also make follow ups to ensure the mothers attend postnatal clinics and that their babies attend the child welfare clinics,” Karoki said.
He said the department of health has been training community health volunteers on how to offer basic homecare services for patients. He said the role played by community health volunteers is very vital since they are able to penetrate the community and offer the much needed public health education, which has had huge impact on reduction and prevention of many diseases.
One of the most impactful outcomes of intensified community health promotion in Kirinyaga is the drastic drop in malaria cases whereby the 360,000 cases reported in 2005 have steadily been reducing to to the current 25,000 to 30,000 cases per year.
This has been due to education of residents on the importance of sleeping under insecticide treated mosquito nets, a campaign that community health volunteers have actively participated in.
There has also been a reduction of epidemics such as diarrhoea due to sustained community health education that has made residents adopt good hygiene practices such as washing of hands, fruits and vegetables before eating them.
-Edited by SKanyara