The Government of Kenya Releases Ksh.3 Billion for Community Health Promoters’ Stipend

by Amref Health Africa

In a groundbreaking initiative, the Government of Kenya has earmarked Ksh.3 billion to compensate Community Health Promoters (CHPs), formerly Community Health Volunteers. The move, aimed at recognising the crucial role played by CHPs, comes ahead of the implementation of the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) agenda, set to begin in March 2024, under the new changes outlined in the Social Health Act.

Presiding over the initiative’s launch, Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua commended the 107,000 CHPs who will benefit from the stipend as “unsung heroes”, contributing significantly to the UHC agenda. He explained that the endorsement followed successful negotiations between the national and county governments, culminating in a co-matching agreement. Under this arrangement, counties will contribute Sh2,500, with the national government covering the remaining half of the Sh5,000 monthly stipend for each CHP.

“We call on counties to fulfil their side of the bargain because quality healthcare is not a favour but a constitutional right. Since deploying community health promoters to villages nationwide in October 2023, they have reached 2.7 million households, positively impacting at least 13.5 million Kenyans. Kenyans value quality, efficiency, and effective service delivery, achievable through collaboration with Community Health Promoters,” stated the Deputy President. The community health promoters are trained to provide health services, including prenatal care, immunisation, nutrition education and treatment of common illnesses.” said the DP.

Susan Nakhumicha, the Cabinet Secretary (CS) of the Ministry of Health, emphasised that the stipend aims to motivate CHPs, recognising their crucial role in the public health sector. “The government has prioritised UHC as part of the BETA plan, focusing on preventive and promotive health. Each health promoter now possesses a smartphone and special kits, incorporating an electronic community health information system (E-CHS) for efficient data collection,” explained CS Nakhumicha.

The World Health Organisation Representative, Dr Abdourahmane Diallo, commended the Kenyan government for investing in community health promoters, ensuring their sustainability through stipend payments, and contributing to improved health outcomes for communities nationwide.

Anthony Gitau, a representative from Johnson and Johnson, also applauded the leadership of Kenya for providing an environment to ensure that the country has Community Health Promoters who are well, kitted, remunerated and resourced. “Although the ministries and everyone in the health care system refer to community health as the foundation of the health care system, it’s very fragmented and very few governments have committed resources to community health; however, in Kenya, we are making headway,” explained Mr Gitau.

In his remarks, Amref Kenya Country Director, Dr Meshack Ndirangu, lauded the President of Kenya and the leadership at the Ministry of Health for recognising the tireless efforts of Community Health Promoters, marking a significant milestone in the pursuit of Universal Health Coverage and underscores the government’s commitment to prioritising primary healthcare.

“Amref has been a trailblazer in PHC, and we are committed to working with the Ministry of Health and Development partners to achieve the well-being of communities through advocacy, technical assistance, and the implementation of critical programs to deliver the BETA plan’s health pillar,” said Dr Ndirangu.

The event took place on February 16, 2024, in the presence of Principal Secretary of State (PS) Department for Public Health and Professional Standards Mary Muthoni, PS for Medical Services, Mr Harry Kimutai, CBS, chairperson of the National Assembly Committee on Health, Dr Robert Pukose, and top government officials and partners. Representatives from the Department of Community Health, Digital Health, State Department of Public Health and Professional Standards and the Division of Primary Health Care Networks also attended. Other partners attending were USAID, Johnson & Johnson, DANIDA, HealthIT, Kenya Red Cross, LVCT, University of Nairobi, Save the Children, and Safaricom Foundation.

Author: Edna Musa, Communications Officer, Amref Health Africa in Kenya

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