Access to quality healthcare is a fundamental human right for all, regardless of geographical location or demographic factors. In Kwale County, Kenya, Amref Health Africa has been leading efforts of strengthening systems for primary healthcare through the delivery of quality and affordable health services to the last-mile communities. Through a comprehensive intervention approach that encompasses infrastructural development, training of health workers, community health promoters, community engagement, and advocacy, Amref has made significant strides in improving healthcare access and outcomes for the target communities
Kwale is a stunning coastal county situated in the southeastern region of Kenya and home to a diverse group of people. The county is renowned for its picturesque beaches, vibrant Swahili culture, and diverse wildlife. However, despite its lively atmosphere, Kwale is facing several health challenges. For instance, the Lungalunga and Vanga sub-counties have limited access to quality healthcare services due to their remote locations and inadequate infrastructure. To address these challenges, Amref Health Africa has implemented various interventions to improve the delivery of healthcare services, which have positively impacted the general well-being of the communities.
We believe a motivated and adequately supported health workforce is critical in promoting health access. As such, our approach included training and deployment of community health promoters who link community members to health facilities. These promoters conduct health education sessions to raise awareness of disease preventive measures and encourage community members to seek timely healthcare services. Through this approach, Vanga Health Facility has been successful in addressing the unique healthcare challenges of the island community – especially tracing defaulters of routine immunisation. The facility has come up with an innovation called Tickler Box, where information on children’s immunisation is stored. It also has a model where women who bring their children for immunisation are used as ambassadors in tracing those who have defaulted in seeking healthcare services.
We need to have sufficient resources available at the health facilities, we appeal to the county leadership to approve and operationalise the facility improvement fund (FIF). The funds help to address the challenges faced by healthcare facilities, such as outdated infrastructure, inadequate equipment, and limited resources, including human resources for health. By providing financial assistance, the FIF will enable Lungalunga and Vanga healthcare facilities and others within the county to improve their physical infrastructure, enhance service delivery capabilities, and ultimately provide better care to patients – Dr Githinji Gitahi, Group CEO – Amref Health Africa, who spoke during a community dialogue session in Vanga.
On her part, the Kwale County Governor, Hon Fatuma Mohamed expressed her gratitude to Amref for the continued support in strengthening systems for primary healthcare within the county. She commended the great work and efforts being done by Amref programmes at various levels in the county that has resulted in improved community health outcomes. She appealed to Amref leadership to continue considering the county in the quest of making it a county of excellence in matters health.
Amref Health Africa’s interventions in Kwale County, Kenya, exemplify the commitment to strengthening systems for primary healthcare and the delivery of quality healthcare services to the last mile communities. The success stories of Lungalunga Health Facility, Vanga Health Facility and the community perspectives demonstrate the transformative power of a comprehensive and community-centered approach to healthcare. By prioritising the needs of the most vulnerable communities, Amref continues to be a driving force in creating a healthier future for all.