ROLE OF COMMUNITY HEALTH VOLUNTEERS IN CARE OF CHILDREN AGED UNDER-FIVE YEARS IN WESTERN KENYA

Damaris Ochanda Onyango

Abstract


Introduction: Many strides have been made over recent years in the reduction of mortality among children aged under-five years though disparities still exist between and within countries. Main causes of morbidity and mortality in Kenya among this age group are attributed to acute respiratory infections and pneumonia, diarrhoea, malaria, anaemia, and malnutrition. Over time Nyanza region has been posting the highest under-five mortality rate compared to the rest of the country. Reduction of under-five mortality can be achieved through linkages between households, communities, and health care facilities. The aim of this study was to determine the role of community health volunteers (CHVs) who are key players in these linkages, in an area where the under-five mortality rate has remained the highest in the country.

Methods: Cross sectional descriptive research design was used in this study. Qualitative data was collected through focus group discussions conducted with CHVs attached to programs and health facilities providing under-five care.

Findings: Community health volunteers’ role in under-five care includes health education, assessment, follow up of HIV exposed infants, ARV, and immunization defaulter tracing, dispensing of drugs and referral.

Conclusion and Recommendations: The CHVs are a link between households, communities and health facilities cannot be underestimated particularly in health education, health assessment, defaulter tracing, referral and community drug dispensing. It is recommended that this role should be strengthened through continuous training and close supervision by health care workers in the health facilities and under-five health programs where CHVs are attached.

Keywords


Community health volunteer, community health worker, under-five health care services

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References


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