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Community health volunteers key in providing healthcare

Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe has praised the role of the Community Health Volunteers (CHVs) in bringing down the spike of disease burden including HIV/AIDs infection in Kisumu County.

According to CS Kagwe, the infection rate of HIV in Kisumu County is at 17 per cent against an estimated national prevalence of 5 per cent.

“I take my hat off to CHVs. There is a need for us to engage the Community Health Workers in a huge manner to ensure that our young people are not perishing as a result of HIV/AIDs,” Kagwe said.

Kagwe called on Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o to use the CHVs’ force to bring down the high prevalence of the virus in the lakeside county.

He was speaking in Kisumu when he officiated the signing of an intergovernmental tripartite agreement for the establishment of a Comprehensive Cancer Centre and the commissioning of Lumumba Sub-County Hospital.

Prof Nyong’o’s administration has contracted some 2,000 CHVs who have played a pivotal role in conducting household visits and carrying out integrated community case management assessments in the area.

The Department of Health and Sanitation has transformed from an entirely analogue practice to a partially digital system by embracing the use of an end-to-end digital system in tracking the health system and commodity supply chain.

By this, 400 CHVs were trained in 2021 and given the community health kits – digital gadgets that help them relay real-time data on the state of health of the community.

“We are in the process of digitizing our community health systems. By the end of this financial year, we intend to have trained all our community health volunteers and given them digital tools so as to be truly digital,” Nyong’o assured.

He added that 30 per cent of the CHVs that serve 94 community units are on-boarded into the departments’ electronic system and more are yet to be trained.

The Kisumu County Government and Living Goods Kenya have sponsored the initiative to improve primary health care and pave the way towards attaining Universal Health Coverage.

Another milestone by the Department of Health includes paying the CHVs a stipend as opposed to the yesteryears when they were not paid anything.

The CHVs are trained to be able to access under 5 years in different households using the digital platform, monitor expectant mothers, guide the community on health improvement and disease prevention.

By Robert Ojwang’

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