KENYA —The Kenyan government is preparing to enlist an army of 100,000 Community Health Promoters (CHPs) to spearhead the implementation of a groundbreaking Primary Care Network (PCN).

Set to launch next month, this ambitious initiative aims to reshape the nation’s healthcare landscape by prioritizing preventive healthcare over curative measures.

The Principal Secretary in the State Department for Public Health and Professional Standards, Ms. Mary Muthoni, elucidated that these dedicated CHPs will be tasked with educating and training individuals within villages and households on the importance of preventive healthcare.

The grand plan encompasses the activation of 315 Primary HealthCare Networks (PCNs), equipped with the necessary governance, coordination, and financial structures.

The official unveiling of these PCNs is scheduled for Mashujaa Day, to be celebrated in Kericho County on October 20, 2023, under the theme “Universal Health Care,” with H.E. the President, Dr. William Ruto, leading the charge.

These PCNs are strategically designed to facilitate seamless integration of healthcare services across all levels of the system, optimizing efficiency and ensuring that no one falls through the cracks.

Furthermore, they aim to establish a robust emergency referral system, enhance resource-sharing across healthcare tiers, and streamline data flow for more informed decision-making.

Muthoni emphasized the need for a paradigm shift from a predominantly curative healthcare approach to a “preventive and promotive” one. This shift is imperative to alleviate the growing disease burden in the nation and reduce the overall cost of healthcare.

Preventive measures, she pointed out, are significantly more cost-effective than dealing with diseases once they reach an incurable stage.

Kenya’s commitment to restructuring its healthcare delivery system underscores its dedication to enhancing the well-being of its citizens. By championing integrated, high-quality, and affordable healthcare, the nation aims to lower disease burdens and improve the overall quality of life for its people.

The PS shared these insights during a Training of Trainers (ToT) session for Community Health Promoters (CHPs) drawn from all 47 counties.

The CHPs will play a pivotal role in the expansion of primary healthcare networks and will serve as valuable advisors to the government, offering critical insights into local healthcare needs and gaps in service provision.

They will also contribute to the establishment of an effective referral system, a fundamental component of universal healthcare.

Recognizing the challenges facing the healthcare system, including shortages of human resources, financing constraints for universal healthcare, and issues within the supply chain, the Kenyan government has devised a comprehensive strategy.

This strategy entails a collaborative effort between County Governments and various stakeholders, with a focus on providing stipends for CHPs on a 50/50 basis, equipping the existing 100,000 Community Health Promoters with essential kits, and leveraging technology for efficient data collection and reporting to ensure quality services.

The PS also highlighted pending bills before Parliament, such as Social Insurance, Commodity Health, and Facility Improvement Bills, all aimed at bolstering healthcare provision.

Moreover, the government is determined to digitize the healthcare system by interlinking health facilities to facilitate smoother referrals, ultimately enhancing healthcare accessibility and coordination.

In pursuit of improved healthcare delivery for all Kenyans, the government is exploring progressive health financing models, including the expansion of health insurance coverage under the new Social Health Insurance (SHI) Package.

Addressing the long-standing challenge of healthcare product procurement, the PS announced the establishment of a national health procurement board to enable bulk purchasing of healthcare products and technologies.

This strategic move seeks to drive down costs through economies of scale and foster the creation of an integrated and interoperable health information ecosystem, promoting patient-centric services, fraud prevention, and improved data sharing among healthcare providers.

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