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Shout out to Kenya Village Health Workers on World Health Day

Can a rural Kenyan community of thousands of people not living in close proximity take an active role in their health and health-related development issues?

The answer is YES if they have a stellar rural community health worker program… and the Kenya government knows that. They recognize that good health is a prerequisite for enhanced economic growth and poverty reduction. So in 2006, the government introduced a community-based approach so households and communities can take an active role in their health and health-related development issues. It identified community health workers as one of the critical elements in the Community Health Strategy. CHOICE Kenya works closely with the Ministry of implementing this strategy in the Sumburu Division.

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The main objective of this program is to enable the community of Samburu to live more healthy lives and be empowered to work towards their development. A community (generally a community that has a CHOICE Community-Based Organization) is identified for training and select members are trained as village health workers.

 Desired Outcomes:  

  • One village health worker for every 20 households linking them to a local health facility
  • Increase in the use of the local health facility
  • Increased hospital deliveries reducing maternal mortality rates
  • Increased attendance to growth monitoring clinics for children under five
  • Increased immunizations
  • Increased output by the community due to better health standards

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As of March 2016, the following successes have been reported from Village Health Workers: 

  • 8 communities have trained health workers
  • 8 communities have a Community Led Total Sanitation Program
  • 5 Village are Open Deification Free (100% latrine coverage)
  • 13,680 latrines built to date
  • 365 total number of trained village healthcare workers, but only 280 are active since some have moved to other geographical areas looking for better pasture for their cattle.
  • Samburu was rated number 1 in Kinango District with 80% coverage in the polio campaign and 75% coverage for mosquito net distribution.
  • Hospital deliveries improved from 58% to 65%
  • Children growth monitoring mobile clinics have increased from 18 centres to 26 outreach centres.

Keep up the good work!

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