Community health volunteers in Kilifi have a reason to smile after the county government embarked on payment of their monthly stipends.
This follows a bill passed by the county assembly and aimed at enhancing universal health coverage.
The county health department has equally enrolled the CHV’s to National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) committing to pay each member a monthly contribution to their cover.
Speaking at Soyosoyo in Watamu Ward, Kilifi County Executive Committee Member (CECM) Peter Mwarogo said that the CHVs will now be promoted from volunteers to health promoters owing to the crucial role they play at the grassroots level.
“In about two weeks’ time, we will invite you for a meeting to come collect all your NHIF cards so that you can access health services whenever you and your families are unwell.”Health CECM Perter Mwarogo
He said this during Open Defecation Free (ODF) celebration at Soyosoyo, an achievement that was drawn through combined efforts of the area’s CHVs together with USAID, UNICEF, Malindi Water and Sewerage LTD, Kilifi County and the National Government.
Sumira Faraji, a resident of Dabaso who has been a CHV for more than 20 years, was delighted by the county’s move saying that it will be a motivation to keep helping members of the community.
She said that they have been at the frontline in aid of people while grappling with harsh economy and unbearable working environment.
Faraji said that lacking NHIF has been a setback to their families’ health needs because they have not been able to afford healthcare services.
“We have done this job for quite a long time without any leader in the caring about our wellbeing. Even though we still don’t know how much we are going to be provided, it is good news to us”, Faraji said.
Tommick Yeri, another CHV lauded the government saying that earning a stipend for the first time since he started the voluntary journey has been his greatest dream.
He said that provision of NHIF by the county government is great stride towards improving the health of the CHVs and their families.
“This is a dream come true. Ian’m elated I feel this is the best reward I could ever get. I am so happy that we CHVs will now be in the NHIF scheme meaning our health is being cared for.”Tommick Yeri
According to Yeri, achieving Open Defecation Free in Watamu ward is worth celebrating being a joint effort of the CHVs who worked tirelessly to create awareness to residents.
Watamu and Dabaso Wards are among the areas in Kilifi North constituencies that have achieved 100 percent construction and use of toilets.