The government has been challenged to remunerated and improve the working conditions of community health volunteers.
The Parliamentary Committee of Health Chairperson Sabina Chege said that this would encourage the health volunteers to improve service delivery in the fight against diseases at the grassroots level.
The Chairperson who is also Murang’a Woman Rep said the volunteers should be redesignated to health workers.
Speaking at Malela Health Center in Homa-Bay County, Ms Chege noted that the community health volunteers undergo a lot of challenges which impede their efforts in service delivery.
“The community health volunteers have become the basic health providers in the Kenyan health system. It’s high time the government recognized them and handle them as other cadres in the health sector,” she said.
Chege said serious challenges such as lack of pay and equipment must be addressed by the government.
She said the challenges will be addressed if the Community Health Workers Bill 2020 sponsored by Ndhiwa MP Martin Owino is passed by Parliament.
Chege said the bill will improve work environment of the volunteers by recognizing them as health workers.
“When there is outbreak of a diseases in villages, the first people to arrive there before the patients get to a health facility are CHVs. But it is unfortunate that they are just volunteers and majority are not facilitated,” she said.
The Woman Rep who led a delegation of the health committee members in touring Malela Health Center said they are doing mobilization as a committee to ensure the bill is passed.
“The Bill will also create a council that will co-ordinate activities of the CHVs and will also help them when they have problems. We also want to ensure the CHVs are entitled to pay,” she added.
Owino said the bill has reached the stage of Second Reading in parliament.
The MP said the bill will ensure the CHVs are recognized by the government as health workers, adding that this will make them get remunerated. “It is one of the ways the government can quickly achieve the Universal Health Coverage (UHC),” he added.
He said there is need for standardized remuneration and training of the CHVs.
The MP said passage of the bill will motivate the volunteers to improve health services in the country. “If we manage diseases early in our villages, we will reduce the burden of high cost of medication besides decongesting our health facilities,” he added.
The committee members who were present included Mbeere North MP Charles Njagagua and James Murgor of Keiyo North.
By Davis Langat