How Kenyans can take an active role in the attainment of UHC

CURAFA seeks to bridge the gap in primary care service delivery

Kenya has over time come a long way in her efforts to strengthen healthcare systems as proven by the strides made in the reduction of maternal and child mortality. Maternal mortality rates stand at 488 for every 100,000 live births. While these figures better the sub-Saharan rate of 640 deaths for every 100,000 – as per the World Health Organization – Kenya still has her work cut out.

While a shortage of health workers and inadequate funds pose a hindrance in efforts to strengthen the health sector at the primary level, now more than ever the government, development partners, NGOs and other collaborators need to come up with long-term solutions to avail the best care possible to all Kenyans.

Merck, in collaboration with Amref Health Africa, is implementing the Points of Care project in Kenya – dubbed CURAFA an amalgamation of the words Cure and Afya – in a bid to improve access, availability and affordability of primary health care services to the underserved populations. The “Points of Care” will support efforts in the prevention, treatment and reduction in the prevalence of communicable and non-communicable diseases currently on the rise owing to the ever rising population and lifestyle changes.

Sustainable, cost-effective, and high-quality health care solutions remain the best solutions more so in low-income areas.

Community Health Volunteer Training
CURAFA aims to close gaps in affordability and accessibility of health services and the empowerment of Community Health Volunteer through education. The programme has so far trained 90 CHVs on; disease prevention, signs and symptoms, family planning, antenatal care, Trachoma, Hypertension, diabetes, and cholera to mention a few in Gikambura and Tuala located in Kiambu and Kajiado counties respectively.

How the CURAFA model works
Amref and MERCK facilitate CHV training via the m-health platform Leap. Community Health volunteers through medical camps and door-to-door campaigns reach out to community members and sensitise them on health issues as per the Leap content. Where CHVs deem a community member to be in need of medical attention, they make referrals to the CURAFA points of care via the mobile app Mobile Jamii Afya Link (M-Jali) – also used for NHIF registration.

Nurse area at one of the Points of Care
M-jali a mobile platform that allows for data collection at the household level – will also facilitate geo-mapping of households to determine demographics, and the health, social and economic status of all households. The collated data will support planning, decision-making and monitoring and evaluation efforts on both county and project level.

The Point of Care is a prefabricated facility comprising of a pharmaceutical dispensary, shop and a treatment area for both physical and remote physician consultations.

As a means of creating employment opportunities at the community level, all Points of Care are registered and run by a certified Kenyan pharmaceutical technologist.

Amref and MERCK seek to partner with persons keen on investing in provision of primary care services, and taking into account the current political goodwill courtesy of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Big Four agenda, Kenyans have the best chance of taking up a leading role in attaining Universal Health Coverage goals.

The Points of Care initiative will bring on-board community health volunteers, health experts and entrepreneurs with the goal of improving access to primary care health services to the underserved members of our community.