By Patricia Wasunna, Knowledge Management and Digital Communication Officer
The Community Health Units for Universal Health Coverage (CHU4UHC) platform, a Johnson and Johnson funded project, supported the Ministry of Health to launch the Kenya Community Health Strategy.
The launch which was hosted by the Division of Community Health/ Department of Primary Health, took place at Esukuta Community Health Unit in Kajiado County onMarch 15, 2021. the event was graced by representatives from various County Governments, the Ministry of Health, Johnson and Johnson Foundation, Kajiado’s community health workforce, and the project’s development partners: Amref Health Africa in Kenya, ENAI Africa, Living Goods, Lwala Community Alliance, UNICEF Kenya, Financing Alliance for Health and LVCT Kenya.
Speaking during the event, Amref Health Africa in Kenya Country Director, Dr Meshack Ndirangu expressed his appreciation to the County Government of Kajiado for allowing the CHU4UHC project to support them in improving community health services and assured of continued support in project implementation. ‘‘I congratulate Kajiado County for being the fifth County in Kenya to enact the Community Health Services Bill. Amref will continue to offer support to the focus counties under the CHU4UHC platform, to build a motivated, skilled, equitably distributed community health workforce by working with the Government to certify a minimum of 28,000 Community Health Volunteers and train 150 Community Health Assistants’ he stated.
“Amref will continue to offer support to the focus counties under the CHU4UHC platform, to build a motivated, skilled, equitably distributed community health workforce by working with the Government to certify a minimum of 28,000 Community Health Volunteers and train 150 Community Health Assistants”. – Dr Meshack Ndirangu, Amref Health Africa in Kenya, Country Director
Other documents launched during the event are the Kenya Community Health Digitisation Strategy 2020-25 and the Kenya Community Health Digital Landscape Assessment Report, which will guide the rollout of the country’s community health information system.
‘‘The fact that these documents are being launched at the community health unit level goes a long way to show the integral role that the community members play when it comes to achieving UHC. The health model outlined in this strategy will strengthen individuals, households and eventually communities. This is the only way that Kenya will achieve UHC’’ shared Dr Waqo Ejersa, the National Ministry of Health representative.
Mr Anthony Gitau, Johnson and Johnson Foundation’s Director Global Community Impact Sub-Sahara Africa urged all the platform’s partners to join efforts to ensure that every Kenyan reaps the benefits of Universal Health Coverage. ‘I would like to take this moment to appreciate all the Community Health Volunteers (CHVs), Community Health Assistants (CHAs) and partners of the CHU4UHC platform who are represented here today. I am positive that together we will achieve equal health for all’, he added.
The County’s Deputy Governor H.E Martin Moshisho additionally termed the strategy as ‘a framework that will guide the provision of standardised community health services in order to achieve Universal Health Coverage’. He applauded the CHVs and CHAs present for their relentless support in stopping the spread of COVID-19 and shared Kajiado’s commitment to not only ‘allocate more resources to pay monthly stipends to the CHVs but also build the capacity of individuals and households in order to provide community health services as outlined in the Constitution of Kenya, 2010.
The Kenya Community Health strategy was formulated by consulting different players in the community health space after the evaluation of the previous strategy. The strategy underwent various discussions by the national government, counties, workforce and partners. The MOH through the Division of Community Health and Counties will lead the various players in implementing the strategy.
Other areas in which Amref Health Africa in Kenya will offer support to actualise the strategy include: strengthening legal frameworks and legislation to support the delivery of community health services at national and county levels, increasing sustainable financing for community health, strengthening the delivery of integrated comprehensive and high-quality community health services, and investing in information management systems to increase availability, quality, demand and utilisation of data.
With various partners coming together through the CHU4UHC platform, it is envisioned that the strategy will lead to a healthy Kenya with an improved human resources for community health, increased financing of community health, better health outcomes in communities, and improved coordination and leadership among others.