The Ministry of Health has adopted a community-based approach, that places County governments and the people, at the centre of community health, particularly on COVID-19 related matters.
The community health approach is a strategy that has been globally recognized, as an effective way of making improvements in health care delivery, as well as addressing the burden of diseases, and therefore, contributing to health and socioeconomic development.
The announcement was made on Sunday by the Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) for Health, Dr. Mercy Mwangangi during the COVID-19 media update.
The community-based approach is a key pillar of the Primary Health Care approach adopted by countries, Kenya included in 1978, through the Alma Ata Declaration 42 years ago, and later re-affirmed by Kenya in Astana, Kazakhstan in 2018.
Kenya developed a primary health care approach in the 1980s, but was focused primarily on healthcare facilities, with minimal community participation.
Since 2006, Kenya has had two strategic plans to guide how the community health program was being implemented. The 2006 strategic plan focused on providing level 1 services for all, building the capacity of the community health extension workers, strengthening health facility-community linkages, and strengthening the community to progressively realize their rights for accessible and quality care.
The second strategic plan covered the period 2014 – 2019 and focused on strengthening the delivery of integrated, comprehensive, and quality community health services for all population cohorts, strengthening community structures, and systems for effective implementation of community health actions and services at all levels, strengthening data demand and information use at all levels, and strengthening mechanisms for resource mobilization and management for sustainable implementation of community health services.
“We are in the process of developing a third community health strategy, 2020-2024, which will be guided by lessons learnt from the previous two strategies,” she disclosed.
Currently, the country is at a 60% level of implementation of Community health in the country. “We expect to achieve the 40% by the end of this month, 31,780 community health volunteers, will have been recruited and trained in all 47 Counties, to offer services at the household level including home-based care for COVID 19 cases, and other aliment’s,” the CAS disclosed.
She also noted that under the current devolved system of government, the community health services strategy is a great resource in providing a framework in the implementation and uptake of community health services.
“This structure promotes a more robust, and well-coordinated community health program at National and County levels that ensures access to preventive and promotive health services for all Kenyans,’ she noted