The right to health is also a fundamental human right enshrined in the Constitution of Kenya. Article 43 (1) (a) of the Constitution provides that every person has the right to the highest attainable standard of health, which includes the right to health care services, including reproductive health care.
Community health volunteers serve at the very heart of communities towards the realisation of the right to health and universal health coverage.
Members of the Samburu County Assembly (MCAs) convened for the second time through the support of the USAID funded Afya Timiza project and other partners to deliberate on the Samburu County Community Health Services Bill, 2020. The bill which recommends the restructuring of Community Health Services and the remuneration of Community Health Volunteers (CHVs), will help to increase access to and the utilisation of health services across the County.
Once passed into law, the letter and spirit of this bill will promote efficiency in the delivery of Community Health Services and address financing challenges faced by the County government towards improving the quality of community health services.
Speaking during the meeting, Samburu County Chief Officer for Health Sam Nakope reiterated that “Samburu County is unique. The vastness, nomadic lifestyle, harsh climatic conditions and culture of our people requires concerted efforts and structures because it would be impossible for us to achieve universal health coverage without investing in CHVs.”
“When you want to build a house, you start with the foundation. For the county health sector, community health services are the foundation,” explained Hon Paul Leshimpiro, Chair for the County Assembly Health Committee.
In his remarks, the Chair of the County Assembly Budget Committee, Hon Peter Lempei acknowledged that in as much as the County needed to invest at least Kshs 35M to support CHVs, an additional Kshs 30M was also needed to operationalise the Act once the bill is passed; to which the MCAs present committed to appropriate in the upcoming budget review.
In closing, the speaker of the County Assembly, Hon Solomon Lempere lauded the USAID funded Afya Timiza project and all development partners in the County for their support in mobilising and sensitising the MCAs and encouraged his team to steer the legislative proposal to fruition when presented to the county assembly next month.
The USAID funded Afya Timiza project which aims to achieve sustainable health outcomes for women, children and adolescents among the hard to reach communities in Samburu and Turkana is supporting the counties through advocacy and policy dialogue to take legislative actions and make commitments to achieve the progressive realisation of the right to health for all county residents.