Amref Health Africa in Kenya through the USAID-funded Afya Timiza activity has signed a two-year collaboration agreement with the County Government of Turkana geared towards addressing the county’s Human Resources for Health gaps through a Donor Supported Contract Health Workers Program.
The signing ceremony was presided over by Deputy County Secretary Robert Loyelei and witnessed by the Amref Health Africa in Kenya Board of Directors led by its Chair Ms Eunice Mathu during a field visit to the County earlier today.
The Contract Health Workers will be engaged from June 2019 to September 2021 with the aim of increasing the availability and provision of family planning (FP), reproductive, maternal, new-born, child and adolescent health (RMNCAH) services in Turkana County.
Limited availability of human resources for health has had a direct effect on the uptake of FP/RMNCAH and nutrition services in the county. Historically, Turkana has grappled with insecurity, inability to attract and retain qualified health care workers, and vast hard-to-reach areas, resulting in a health worker shortage. This is amplified when the available health workers take annual leave, maternity leave, when they travel for monthly report submission, are away on sick leave, or travel to collect vaccines among other reasons.
However, all is not lost. The County Government of Turkana has demonstrated commitment to improving the health of its people with 25% of the county budget going towards health. The county has also invested in the construction and equipping of new health facilities. The county now has 221 health facilities from 181 before devolution, and the number of health care workers has risen from 393 before devolution to almost 1,470 in 2016.
The county has put in place plans to recruit health workers in the 2019/20 financial year and is awaiting resources to be availed from the national government on completion of the national budgeting process.
To complement the county’s efforts, the USAID-funded Afya Timiza activity will support the County Health Management Team (CHMT) to engage Nurses and Community Health Promoters to ensure service continuity before the county hires health workers.
Through the signed agreement, Afya Timiza is confident that the joint effort will increase: antenatal care attendance, uptake of skilled birth deliveries, uptake of postnatal care services, uptake of immunisation services among children under the age of five years, uptake of family planning services and access to high impact nutrition Interventions.
Turkana County and Afya Timiza have agreed to work together across 46 health facilities and 30 community units directly supported by the USAID-funded activity and in collaboration with sub-county health management teams in Turkana South, Loima and Kibish sub counties.
Speaking during the signing, County Executive Committee Member for Health Hon. Jane Ajele lauded Amref Health Africa for its grit to sustainably improve health for the vulnerable communities of Turkana for over three decades.