PREVENTIVE HEALTH

State to train 20,000 community health volunteers by next year

The volunteers will play a big role in the Universal Health Coverage programme, once rolled-out.

In Summary

• Areas of training will include maternal health, technical areas such as non-communicable diseases, HIV and hygiene and sanitation

• The volunteers are hired by county governments and each is paid a token of Sh2,000 every month

The Chief Administrative Secretary Dr Rashid Aman delivers his key note address during the Global Practitioners Conference on Community Health at Safari Park Hotel
The Chief Administrative Secretary Dr Rashid Aman delivers his key note address during the Global Practitioners Conference on Community Health at Safari Park Hotel
Image: MAGDALINE SAYA
Health CAS Rashid Aman with Moi University ChancellorMiriam Were and other delegates during the Global Practitioner Conference on Community Health at Safari Park Hotel.
Health CAS Rashid Aman with Moi University ChancellorMiriam Were and other delegates during the Global Practitioner Conference on Community Health at Safari Park Hotel.
Image: MAGDALINE SAYA

The Health Ministry is planning to increase the number of community health volunteers to 100,000 through the training of 20,000 more by next year. 

The areas of training will include maternal health, technical areas such as non-communicable diseases, HIV and hygiene and sanitation.

The volunteers will play a big role in the Universal Health Coverage programme because they provide primary and health promotion services.

 

The volunteers are hired by county governments and each is paid a token of Sh2,000 every month.

“Some of the recommendations we are looking forward to implementing include creating a sense of ownership and increasing motivation among community health workers through training, equipping and provision of stipends,” Health CAS Rashid Aman said yesterday.

The CAS spoke during the official opening of the Global Healthcare Professionals Conference in Nairobi.

Once the Universal Health Coverage programme is rolled-out countrywide, the volunteers will be trained by the national government but will be paid by the counties. They will serve in their own villagers.

Recently, Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki said the right number of volunteers countrywide will be determined after the UHC pilot.

The ministry in partnership with other stakeholders is already digitising data collection at the community level through the adoption of mobile phone technology based e-health tools.

“Data collected will help support evidence-based decision making such as the rapid deployment of personnel to address disease outbreaks and support for weaker frontline health workers,” the CAS said.

 

Some of the community health volunteers have been equipped with mobile phones especially in the field of maternal health to help remind mothers and pregnant women about keeping their antenatal and post-natal clinic visits.

“Frequent outbreaks of communicable diseases, as well as rising incidences of non-communicable diseases world over, point to the urgency of embracing delivery models that generate the best possible health outcomes using limited available resources.”

Head of primary health at the ministry Dr Salim Hussein estimates the cost of training one CHV to be around Sh156,000, but the cost significantly reduces to less than Sh60,000 if done in groups of 50.

“Community health primarily focuses on preventive and promotive interventions that prevent and address illness early, before conditions become complicated and more expensive to treat,” Aman added.

Community health volunteers have been vital in creating demand for family planning at the community level, and linking women and families to the health system.

They are selected by their neighbours and live in the areas they serve.

(edited by O. Owino)