In Summary
  • The bill provides a legal basis for the effective delivery of integrated, comprehensive and quality community health services at county level.
  • Dr Zani is proposing that community health workers should be nominated by the community in a public baraza and then competitively recruited by the county public service board.

Counties will be compelled to recruit community health workers, pay them allowances and provide necessary protective gear if senators pass a bill currently before the House.

The Community Health Services Bill sponsored by nominated Senator Agnes Zani will provide a legal regime for recognition of community health services and their regulation.

The proposed law has already been introduced in the House and gone through public participation that was conducted by the Committee on Health, chaired by Trans Nzoia Senator Michael Mbito.

“Community health services are instrumental in achieving preventive healthcare and ensuring access to health services in compliance with Article 43 of the Constitution,” Dr Zani says in the memorandum of objects of the bill.

The senator also wants CEC in charge of Health in all the 47 counties to report periodically to the county assembly on the status of community health providers in their respective counties.

SEAMLESS OPERATIONS

Community health workers are not recognised by law and mainly provide volunteer services.

The bill provides a legal basis for the effective delivery of integrated, comprehensive and quality community health services at the county level.

It also provides a framework for coordinated implementation of policies and standards formulated by the national and county governments.

She argues that provision of community health services, especially as the country battles Covid-19, cannot be gainsaid.

“It is imperative that awareness-raising through tailor-made rural public sensitisation campaigns, reinforced and revamped training of Community Health Workers and equipping the health facilities for handling of cases, is urgently undertaken.”

The bill comes after the national and the county governments signed a deal to progressively scale up provision of universal healthcare.

PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT

The Intergovernmental Partnership Agreements signed between the two levels of government to actualise the deal further proposes the recruitment of Community Health Extension Workers by counties and placing Community Health Volunteers on an agreed stipend of Sh2,000.

Dr Zani is proposing that community health workers should be nominated by the community in a public baraza and then competitively recruited by the county public service board.

The bill creates an office of the director of community health services. The holder will advise Health CEC on the integration of health in development plans.