UHC pilot counties focus on CHWs to deliver healthcare

A community health worker in Bondo, Kisumu County. PHOTO: LILIAN KAIVILU

A community health worker in Bondo, Kisumu County. PHOTO: LILIAN KAIVILU

UHC pilot counties focus on CHWs to deliver healthcare

By Lilian Kaivilu

One month after the official rollout of Universal Health Coverage, the four pilot counties are tapping into the huge network of community health workers in order to achieve the UHC dream.

Kisumu, Nyeri, Isiolo and Machakos counties are now giving monetary and other incentives to CHWs to enable them carry out their activities effectively.

Panelists at the Multi Stakeholder Partnership Kenya (MSP-K) annual stakeholder forum held in Nairobi.
Panelists at the Multi Stakeholder Partnership Kenya (MSP-K) annual stakeholder forum held in Nairobi.

According to Kisumu CEC Health and Sanitation Dr Rosemary Obara, the county is now paying a Sh3,000 monthly stipend to community health workers. Out of this, Sh500 goes to the workers’ medical scheme. “We are also giving them bicycles facilitate their movement within the county. We are planning to buy mobile phones and tablets for them in order to enable easy capture and recording of data,” said Obara.

Speaking during the Multi Stakeholder Partnership Kenya (MSP-K) annual stakeholder forum held in Nairobi, Obara said the county had partnered with Farm Access to register households, with almost 60 per cent of the population registered. The data is then uploaded to the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) database. The county has allocated 30 per cent of its budget to the health sector.

Kisumu CEC Health and Sanitation Dr Rosemary Obara
Kisumu CEC Health and Sanitation Dr Rosemary Obara

Although Machakos county has made notable infrastructural changes to Level 4 and 5 hospital, Health CEC member Ruth Mutua says human resources still remain a challenge. The county is tapping into the 2,500 community health workers to bridge this gap. “If we put all the CHWs on pay, it might not be sustainable. But we give them incentives,” she said.

In Isiolo, the county has brought on board 720 community health workers for the next four years to accelerate the achievement of UHC in the county. Mahamoud Haji, CEC member health services in the county says the government is paying community health workers between Sh2,000 and Sh3,000 per month, based on the performance of individual CHVs. By January this year, Kenya has 66, 353 community health workers, according to George Oele, technical advisor, community health strategy at Amref Health Africa.

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