Community Health Volunteers (CHV) have lost the fight for Sh1.2 billion kits to protect them against coronavirus.
This will now see the group of health workforce wait for the next financial year when the kits will be budgeted for by the Ministry of Health afresh.
Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) for Health Mercy Mwangangi said the Covid-19 pandemic struck when the government was about to purchase the kits for the volunteers, who play a critical role in primary healthcare by bridging the health workforce gaps.
“No kit had been purchased for the national roll-out of the CHWs,” she told the Senate Committee on Health chaired by Senator Michael Mbito.
The committee heard that the government had opted to purchase the kits on behalf of the 47 county governments in a bid to ensure they were in line with the training curriculum, which secures the quality of services provided.
Dr Mwangangi said it was also as a result of economies since pooled procurement would save the country costs incurred from multiple purchases of the same items.
Counties through their community services focal persons are said to have forwarded to the Ministry of Health the number of CHVs in their areas and the units needed depending on the population of the county using a formula said to have been agreed on.
In the formula, one community unit was to cater for a population of 5,000 in an area manned by 10 CHVs where each was to get a single kit.
On the issue of counties compensating CHVs, the provisions in the Intergovernmental Participation Agreement provide for them to progressively increase investments in the health department including human resources.
“Counties have been encouraged to plan for its workforce and pass legislation on community health. Some counties like Siaya are already paying their CHVs,” the CAS said.
Out of the 47 counties, it is only Nairobi that hasn't signed the agreement but the county has been allowed to hire health workers through the Public Service Commission.