Kilifi County government has embarked on an exercise of paying its community health volunteers monthly stipends in a bid to enhance universal health coverage.
Speaking at Soyosoyo in Watamu Ward, Kilifi Conty Executive Committee Member (CECM) Peter Mwarogo said that the CHVs will now be promoted from volunteers to health promoters owing to the crucial role they play at the grassroots level.
“In about two weeks’ time, we will invite you for a meeting to come collect all your NHIF cards so that you can access health services whenever you and your families are unwell”, Mwarogo said.
He said this during Open Defecation Free (ODF) celebration at Soyosoyo, an achievement that was drawn through combined efforts of the area’s community health volunteers together with USAID, UNICEF, Malindi Water and Sewerage LTD, Kilifi County and the National Government.
Sumira Faraji, a resident of Dabaso who has been a community health volunteer for more than 20 years, was delighted by the county’s move saying that it will be a motivation to keep helping members of the community.
She said that they have been at the frontline in aid of people while grappling with harsh economy and unbearable working environment.
Faraji said that lacking NHIF has been a setback to their families’ health needs because they have not been able to afford healthcare services.
“We have done this job for quite a long time without any leader in the caring about our wellbeing. Even though we still don’t know how much we are going to be provided, it is good news to us”, Faraji said.
Tommick Yeri, also a community health volunteer in the area, lauded the government saying that earning a stipend for the first time since he started the voluntary journey has been his greatest dream.
He said that provision of NHIF by the county government is great stride towards improving the health of the volunteers and their families.
“This is a dream come true. I am full of joy and I feel this is the best reward I could ever get. I am so happy that we community health volunteers will now be in the NHIF scheme meaning our health is being cared for”, Yeri said.
According to Yeri, achieving Open Defecation Free in Watamu ward is worth celebrating being a joint effort of the volunteers who worked tirelessly to create awareness to residents.
Watamu and Dabaso Wards are among the areas in Kilifi North constituencies that have achieved 100 percent construction and use of toilets.