Developing and sustaining Human Resources for Health is one of the key pillars of Amref’s Health Africa strategic plan for 2018-2022. Seeking to scale up the numbers and skills of the Community Level Workforce, Amref with the support of Johnson &Johnson in 2020 awarded scholarships to 149 CHAs across different KMTC campuses in the country.
Community Health Assistants (CHAs) support and supervise CHVs in assigned tasks. They also collate information provided by CHVs and compile reports from the data provided by the CHVs monthly, which are then submitted to the link facility.
Ann Wambui and Lawrence Maimba from Nyeri County heard about the scholarships from the Sub-County Focal Person (SCFP) and went ahead to apply for the course. The certificate course on Community Health is 2 years long with 2 practical sessions after each year, with a chance to be employed by the counties after graduation.
“After learning that the Ministry of Health with support from Amref Health Africa was going to cater for the tuition fee, I didn’t hesitate to send in my application letter. My dream growing up was to be a medical doctor. I believe that this course is the cornerstone of my dreams because it has given me a chance to get into the field of Health.” Lawrence explains. “The scholarship would cater for the tuition fee and then we would cater for our accommodation and food. “ he continues.
“We heard back from KMTC after 2 weeks and went ahead to begin the virtual lessons in September 2020 when the prevalence of Covid-19 was high in the country. The virtual classes were timely seeing that we didn’t have to worry about the high cost of accommodation and food in Nairobi at the time.” Ann Wambui shares. “However, we had to restart the classes again in January 2021 physically seeing that not everyone had successfully managed to follow through with the virtual classes because of issues like the internet,” she adds.
“After completing our first year of studies, we were attached to Kwale County where we focused on pressing community needs in the county such as open defecation and water & sanitation. It was quite an experience being in another county and practicing hands-on, the content you are taught in class. There is a lot of practicality between what is taught in class and what is practiced in the field.” Ann notes.
“When we were in the field, we were attached to someone to guide you and report to. We were using the MoH 515 reporting tool that captures a monthly summary of CHVs efforts and services offered at the household level. The information is then submitted to the sub-county focal person by the 5th of every month.” Ann remarks.
The 149 graduates will graduate on 1st December 2022 with adequate skills for CHAs. Capacity building the community health workforce builds on the premise that community health services are a vital component of Primary Health Care and a critical driver to the realization of Universal Health Coverage (UHC). The empowerment of this group in community health skills will contribute to efforts towards the achievement of UHC, as well as job creation for the youth in line with the current government’s aspirations for Kenyan youth.