Nyeri County is relying on community health promoters as the first line of defence in preventing non-communicable diseases in patients.
County health surveys indicate a relatively high prevalence of non-communicable conditions, with hypertension affecting 13 to 28 per cent of the population, diabetes affecting six to 19 per cent, and cancers being the leading cause of mortality.
As early as 2019, Nyeri County had a well-established community health system with 2,375 health volunteers, now referred to as Community Health Promoters (CHPs), distributed across 251 operational community units in the eight sub-counties.
The attention on CHPs has grown since President William Ruto’s National Launch of the Community Health Promoters program, in which both the national and county governments will contribute to financing in a 50:50 ratio.
However, for Nyeri, the programme has been in progress, primarily due to the volunteers’ dedication and commitment.
Governor Mutahi Kahiga described CHPs as the true heroes of Nyeri, showcasing unwavering commitment and resilience in delivering healthcare services at the household level.
“We celebrate our CHPs for their noble role in providing community education to our residents through screening, early detection, and management of lifestyle diseases, which is a significant burden, especially in Nyeri, where the prevalence is higher,” he said.
Kahiga said during the coronavirus pandemic, the CHPs stepped up to offer much-needed prevention, promotion, rehabilitative, and curative services, particularly for the elderly.
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CHPs are deployed in villages to raise awareness about various health issues, provide treatment for minor ailments, and conduct hypertension and blood sugar screenings at the household level.
Health Executive Joseph Kiragu said each CHP had been issued with an Electronic Community Health information system (e-CHIS) gadget to collect data such as household registration, routine NCD screening, and referrals at the click of a button.
Health Services Director Nelson Muriu said the 2,375 CHPs are a robust team trained on handling NCDs, which is a burden in Nyeri. The county has trained the CHPs with a focus on hypertension and diabetes.