Kirinyaga County Governor Anne Waiguru on Wednesday flagged off 1,205 Community Health Promoters (CHPs) in a bid to strengthen the provision of primary healthcare.
In an event held at Kerugoya County Referral Hospital grounds, the governor said that CHPs programme will help reduce number of patients seeking healthcare services in hospitals.
Waiguru said the roll out of CHP programme in Kirinyaga will complement her effort to transform healthcare sector in the county. She said the promoters will be able to deal with minor ailments at early stages that do not require referral.
She said CHPs form a critical component of healthcare service delivery in the county since they are the first point of contact for patients in the community. She noted that they play a critical role in provision of primary healthcare and the achievement of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) goals.
Waiguru who is also the Council of Governors Chair pointed out that each Community Health Promoter will be in charge of 100 households comprised of about 500 individuals and will be linked to a health facility nearest the community that they are serving.
She noted that by taking health services closer to the people, communities are able to identify their health priorities and participate in the planning and delivery of services thus playing an active role in maintaining their own health and well-being. She added that services by CHPs will help in reducing the number of people vising the level four and five hospitals thus reducing congestion in those facilities.
At the same time, she distributed 854 kits that contain essential commodities that will enable them deliver services in their respective communities.
She said that the kits will help the CHPs undertake basic tests such as blood pressure, blood sugar, weight, body temperature, and child growth monitoring. They will also administer first aid and basic medicine such as dewormers and supplements.
The kits contain essential commodities such as a First Aid Box, weighing scale, clinical thermometer, measuring tape, blood pressure machine, blood sugar machine, medicine box, and a flashlight among others.
They will also receive tablets to enable them to document, store, and relay important data.
“We are committed to putting in place sound health systems that ensure that our people access affordable comprehensive care ranging from disease prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation,” Waiguru stated.
She pointed out that many of the CHPs have been working as community health volunteers and thanked them for the years of dedication. She noted that under the current arrangement, they will each be receiving a Ksh. 5,000 monthly stipend that will enable them cater for some of the work logistics.
She noted that due to constant public health education mainly by CHPs, there has been gradual decline of diseases such as malaria and water borne diseases in the county.
She said that her administration is focused on developing a good network of health facilities in the grassroots and has recently opened nine new dispensaries and is in the process of opening others. Some of the recently opened dispensaries include Matandara, Riakithiga laboratory, South Ngariama, Kamwana, Kiamwathi, Kianjiru, Umoja, Kiaumbui and Joshua Mbai laboratory.
She also stated that the county is also strengthening its referral system through upgrading of hospitals citing Kerugoya County Referral Hospital which was recently upgraded from Level 4 to Level 5 and the ongoing upgrading of Kimbimbi and Kianyaga Hospitals from Level 3 to Level 4 facilities.