Dream Realized: Kenya Celebrates Payment of Stipends to Community Health Promoters

Dream Realized: Kenya Celebrates Payment of Stipends to Community Health Promoters

In a historic moment on 16th February 2024, Kenya witnessed the launch and commissioning of stipends for its 107,000 Community Health Promoters (CHPs), marking the culmination of years of dedication and advocacy. The event held at the Deputy President’s official residence in Karen, buzzed with excitement as key stakeholders celebrated this milestone towards achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC). 

For years, Kenyan Community Health Promoters (CHPs), previously known as Community Health Volunteers (CHVs),  have been the unsung heroes of healthcare, serving their communities tirelessly, often without compensation. The stipends’ launch marked a turning point, not just for them, but for the entire healthcare system in Kenya.

A dream come true

 Representing all partners, Anthony Gitau, Director Global Community Impact (GCI) for Sub-Saharan Africa at Johnson and Johnson, expressed his joy for a dream come true for the long-standing advocacy for a kitted, resourced and paid community health workforce in Kenya.  He echoed the sentiments of many, recognizing the tireless efforts of CHPs who have long served their communities with limited resources and recognition.

Meshack Ndirangu, the Country Director of Amref Health in Kenya, commended CHPs, highlighting the crucial role they play in primary healthcare. He recognized the government’s bold move for the legislation in October 2023 to drive PHC.“The provision of kits, resources, and now, stipends, signifies the government’s commitment to empowering these unsung heroes,” he added.

Key prerequisite to achieving UHC

Lauding  Kenya’s milestone, WHO Representative, Dr. Abdourahmane Diallo, emphasized the crucial role of CHPs in achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC). He recognized the government’s adoption of the Primary Care Network (PCN) approach and investment in training CHPs expressing what an honor it was to witness the launch.

“Today is filled with immense pride,” declared Cabinet Secretary for Health, Susan Nakhumicha, recognizing CHPs as the backbone of primary healthcare. The CS noted CHPs’ tireless dedication in disease prevention, health promotion, and bridging the gap between communities and facilities as invaluable. She acknowledged their tireless work and saw the stipends as a well-deserved appreciation. She emphasized the crucial role of CHPs in building strong foundations for UHC, citing other countries’ success stories.

A People-Centered Approach

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua declared the launch a key milestone, highlighting the 3 billion shillings invested in stipends and the government’s commitment to fulfill its promise to contribute 50% of CHP stipends. He emphasized the CHP program’s impact, reaching 2.7M households since it was launched on 25th September 2023. Since its launch, the program has touched the lives of 13.5M Kenyans at 25% reach in personalized health services improving lives, and demonstrating their commitment to the “Afya Nyumbani”  initiative.

“Quality healthcare is not a favor,” Gachagua emphasized, reminding everyone of the constitutional right to health. He urged counties to fulfill their part and ensure the smooth implementation of the program.

The journey to this momentous occasion has been long and relentless. CHPs have faced challenges, including inadequate training, lack of resources, and minimal recognition. However, their unwavering commitment to their communities never faltered.

The transformation journey in Kenya’s community health services

Kenya’s community health landscape witnessed a monumental shift in 2023. President Dr. William Ruto inaugurated the CHP program during a jubilant celebration at Uhuru Park, marking a new era for frontline healthcare providers. Not only did he ceremoniously unveil 100,000 essential kits for all CHPs nationwide, but the government also equipped them with 100,000 smartphones, empowering them to improve data collection and reporting on community health services. This crucial initiative was further bolstered by the CHU4UHC platform, which supported invaluable training for CHPs across different counties.

The CHP stipends’ launch marks a turning point. It signifies the government’s recognition of the vital role CHPs play in building a healthy nation. With proper support and resources, these dedicated individuals can continue to be the driving force behind Kenya’s journey towards UHC, ensuring quality healthcare reaches every corner of the country.

This is not just a story about stipends, but about acknowledging and empowering the unsung heroes who make a difference every day. It’s a story of resilience, dedication, and finally, a dream realized.

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