Kirinyaga County Governor Anne Waiguru, on Wednesday, took a significant step towards bolstering primary healthcare by flagging off 1,205 Community Health Promoters (CHPs) at an event held at Kerugoya County Referral Hospital grounds.
Waiguru emphasized the role of the CHP program in reducing the burden on hospitals.
She stated that the CHPs program will help reduce the number of patients seeking healthcare services in hospitals.
Waiguru underlined the program's alignment with her broader efforts to transform the healthcare sector in Kirinyaga, asserting that these promoters would address minor ailments at early stages, negating the need for referrals.
The governor highlighted the pivotal role of CHPs as the first point of contact for patients in the community, stating, "CHPs form a critical component of healthcare service delivery in the county."
She stressed their significance in achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC) goals and acknowledged that each CHP would oversee 100 households, comprising approximately 500 individuals, linked to the nearest health facility.
Waiguru emphasized the importance of taking healthcare services closer to the people, enabling communities to identify health priorities and actively participate in planning and delivering services.
This decentralization, she stated, would contribute to reducing congestion in higher-level hospitals.
Simultaneously, Governor Waiguru distributed 854 kits containing essential commodities to facilitate CHPs in delivering services.
These kits include items for basic tests such as blood pressure, blood sugar, weight, body temperature, child growth monitoring, and administration of first aid and basic medicine.
The kits consist of a First Aid Box, weighing scale, clinical thermometer, measuring tape, blood pressure machine, blood sugar machine, medicine box, flashlight, and tablets for documenting and relaying important data.
Governor Waiguru affirmed her commitment to establishing sound health systems for affordable comprehensive care.
“We are committed to putting in place sound health systems that ensure that our people access affordable comprehensive care ranging from disease prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation,” Waiguru stated.
She expressed gratitude to the CHPs, many of whom had previously served as community health volunteers. Under the new arrangement, each CHP will receive a monthly stipend of Sh5,000 to cover some work logistics.
Attributing the decline of diseases like malaria and waterborne diseases in the county to constant public health education by CHPs, Waiguru outlined her administration's focus on developing a robust network of grassroots health facilities.
She cited the recent opening of nine dispensaries, including Matandara, Riakithiga laboratory, South Ngariama, Kamwana, Kiamwathi, Kianjiru, Umoja, Kiaumbui, and Joshua Mbai laboratory.
Furthermore, Waiguru highlighted the county's efforts in strengthening the referral system, with Kerugoya County Referral Hospital upgraded from Level 4 to Level 5.
Ongoing upgrades of Kimbimbi and Kianyaga Hospitals from Level 3 to Level 4 facilities demonstrate the county's commitment to enhancing healthcare services.