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PATH pilots project to manage childhood illnesses in dispensaries

An International nonprofit organization, Program for Appropriate Technology in Health (PATH), is piloting a program to manage childhood illnesses in 19 dispensaries in Lurambi and Ikolomani constituencies of Kakamega County.

Through the project known as Tools for Integrated Management of Childhood Illnesses (TIMSY), PATH is supporting selected dispensaries by providing devices to improve on Maternal Neonatal Child Health (MNCH) targeting children under the age of 5 years.

TIMSY is a guideline that makes it easy to identify the illnesses that a child is suffering from.

Elwesero Health Centre in Lurambi Constituency was identified as a model facility and has registered improved health outcomes among children, reduced the use of antibiotics, improved proper diagnosis and helped health officials to reduce cases of illnesses and maternal deaths.

Through the TIMSY project, PATH has supplied nine Oxygen Concentrators to improve oxygen levels among children during medication.

It has also supplied pulse oximeters to determine heart rate of a child and another device known as Clinical Decision Support System (CDSS) that enables clinical officers to take a child through all steps of diagnosing a disease.

The CDSS works in a way that once one of the vital steps is skipped, the machine notifies the clinical officer that a certain step has been skipped thus enabling the in charge to go through all the suggested diagnostics and recommendations on the type of medication to be administered to the child.

PATH has teamed up with civil society organizations (CSOs) who work with Community Health Volunteers (CHVs) through Maternal Neonatal Child Health Alliance (MNCHA) to oversee proper implementation of the project which will be rolled out to other parts once successful. The Organization has further donated drugs in the pilot facilities.

The Chairperson of Matunda Jua Kazi CSO Meshack Lupele said since the project was started in 2019, they have registered a reduction of maternal deaths and childhood illnesses in the community surrounding the facility.

“The Project came as a result of the high number of children afflicted with diseases and deaths due to poor medication. This is the second project in Kakamega focusing on the child after the initial project done by the county government and development partners on Mother and Child Health,” he noted.

Lupele urged the County Government of Kakamega to increase funding to health facilities at the lowest level to ensure that most illnesses are tackled at dispensaries at the lowest cost possible.

“We shall be saving on the county’s revenue to a larger extent if we shall be keen on primary healthcare instead of medication,” he noted.

The Member of County Assembly for Khalaba Ward in Matungu Constituency Bonface Lubanga who is also the chairperson of Finance Committee in Kakamega County Assembly said they agreed as leaders of Kakamega to put more funding in preventive measures to curb diseases.

“As leaders I want to assure you that we have already captured the devices in the budget making process through the County Integrated Development Plan (CIDP) and in the budget estimates,” he pointed out.

Nominated MCA, Victoria Ong’ai, who is also a policy advocate and healthcare champion said that the project will help Kakamega County to address child mortality rates.

“We have seen from data that there is quite an improvement in our child health outcomes in this area, our CHVs are doing a very commendable job in the communities,” she noted.

By Moses Wekesa

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