Wednesday, 24 April, 2019
David Nakaya is a Community Health Volunteer from Ekaita sub- location, Ekaita Community Unit in Emuhya Sub County, Vihiga County. Ekaita Community Unit (CU) has a total of ten CHVs who were recruited in a chief’s baraza by community members and David is one of the ten CHV members successfully selected by the community members in 2012.
He doubles up as a farmer and a preacher, roles he attributes to his success in his duties as a CHV as he is publicly known and thus stands a better chance to influence the community.
He appreciates the good working relation with Amref Health Africa and various trainings that have equipped him and fellow CHVs with vital skills and knowledge on the management of malaria as well as TB and HIV/AIDS. David brought together all the CHVs from Ekaita CU and formed a group Ekaita Support Group. Through this group, all the members included have been empowered economically through the performance based stipend they receive every month of which they use part of the money to do table banking as a CU and this has enabled the group to purchase nine cows. This money helps him settle bills as well as meet other daily needs. In the process, they have also been able to purchase 50 plastic chairs for hire by the community. They use the proceeds from this business to finance various needs and setup a table banking initiative through which a total of Kshs 86,000 is in circulation as loan and Kshs 40,000 in their group bank account.
Through the support of Amref Health Africa, the CHVs received training in project management as well as gender mainstreaming where they were taught about Gender Based Violence (GBV) and rape. The integration of management of malaria, TB and HIV/AIDS has seen the CHVs become equipped with basic knowledge of testing, treating and tracking case progress for each of the three diseases. In case of referral cases for specialised management, the link facilities have been of great help in offering timely and quality support thanks to the good working relations between the CHVs and staff of the link health facilities.
David visits his household units four times a week mostly in the afternoons. In a single day, he attends to a maximum of five and minimum of three households enabling him to visit all his allocated households within a month. In the line of duty, he and other CHVs experience a number of challenges that include: unfavourable weather conditions, frequent repair and maintenance of bicycles allocated to them and stipends that not are adequate to meet their various needs. There are also very high expectations from the community to treat all forms of ailments yet they are only trained on management of the three aforementioned diseases.
During periods of industrial unrest in the health sector, CHVs like David play a critical role in maintaining the health standards of people in the community. They are tasked with getting drugs from the health facilities and taking them to ailing clients in their respective household units. They also assist, to the extent possible, in child deliveries when hospital operations are affected by strikes. In case of serious cases beyond their control, they refer clients to private health facilities for further management.
David is thankful to Amref for the continued support and looks forward to longer partnership in the management of these three diseases.
Across its various programmes, Amref Health Africa works with over 13,000 community health workers across Kenya. For the critical role they continue to play, Amref Health Africa continues to advocate for the integration of CHWs into the health workforce, and that they are compensated for their efforts in complementing the work of health professionals, as well as receive continued support and supervision by mid-level health workers in health facilities.