Kenya: Nairobi Community Health Workers Lament Over Delay of Stipend Rollout By City Hall

Nairobi — Nairobi County government has been faulted for failure to roll out payment to the county’s community health workers despite allocating Sh 100 M for the facilitation of the programme.

Last year it was estimated that at least 6,250 community health volunteers in Nairobi would from July the same year receive Sh3,000 as monthly stipend as well as Sh500 in health insurance.

Despite the passage and launch of the Nairobi City County Community Services Health Act the health workers are still offering their services with no motivation stipend.

Nairobi Gubernatorial Aspirant Agnes Kagure has called on urgent action on the welfare of community health workers in Nairobi County insisting its affecting their service delivery to Kenyans.

Kagure decried that the community health workers are still receiving no stipend for their services.

“This are people we would really want to appreciate because of what they have done to our communities. They have been volunteering without any payment. We need to deliver the people of Nairobi from city of lamentations and ensure proper delivery to the people of Nairobi,” Kagure noted.

Community health volunteers engage in tracing and referral of health-related cases to the nearest health facilities, conducting home visits to determine health situation and promoting appropriate home care for the sick with the support of health partners among others.

“We need to offer solution to this special cadre who are leaders with no titles. In Pumwani they don’t have enough community health workers. This special group be paid a basic salary because of what they have done,” said Kagure.

Ken Adagala, chairman of the community health workers in Nairobi lamented that despite an existing act providing a legal basis for their payment they are still languishing in poverty.

“The act should be implemented so that our people not only get money but access to safety kits and other vital information that will ensure efficient service delivery. The budget that was allocated to us in 2021/2022 is not in our pockets, let it not be returned to treasury,” said Adagala.

Aisha Hamisi, a health worker in Kamkunji pointed out that it has been impossible to offer their services as efforts to ensure rollout of the stipend have been muzzled due to lack of political goodwill.

“We have a lot of grievances having worked odd hours without pay and sometimes used our money to help patients get to hospitals. We are rich in information but without money in our pockets,its almost impossible,”she said.

Peter Karanja,a Nairobi community health worker coordinator stationed at Makadara noted that the journey to call for payment has taken more than three decades but no hope in sight.

He stated that despite a clear legal framework the act has not been operationalized threatening to down tools if the delay continues.

“We were promised last year to be given stipends but without political goodwill it has been impossible.We were supposed to be paid Sh 3500 which is quite meger with this economy in our country,the least we should be given is at least Sh 20,000,”Karanja noted.

Nairobi County has a total of 6, 250 community health workers who work in the more than 1, 000 health centers across all the 85 wards in the capital city.

In June, 2019, City Hall announced that the health volunteers were to get at least Sh500 per month for the NHIF cover while the monthly stipend was to be increased from the current Sh1, 300 to Sh3, 000.

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