Living Goods believes advocacy is critical to creating an effective enabling environment and ensuring lasting impact for community health, and we were encouraged by the policy developments we supported throughout 2021.
Globally, we were pleased to contribute to the development of a WHO/UNICEF guidance document on the role of CHWs in COVID-19 vaccine distribution, as it supports governments to better outline the roles, needs and opportunities for CHWs in national vaccine deployment plans. Regionally, we contributed to the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) guidelines on Safe Vaccination Administration in the Context of COVID-19 in Africa and together with partners we supported Africa CDC to develop a position paper on the critical role CHWs must play in expanding access to COVID-19 vaccines.
We are also providing strong support to governments in the countries where we work to take the lead on implementing and institutionalizing digital tools for community health, so that the enabling environment prioritizes digitized community health systems. This included amplifying the voices of MoH leaders from Burkina Faso, Kenya, and Uganda to present their vision and progress bolstering digital tools within their community health systems at the 2021 Global Digital Health Forum and 76th UN General Assembly.
In Kenya, we were pleased to see legislation introduced in 2021 to institutionalize integrated, digitized community health systems across the country. This included the passage of Community Health Services Acts in Busia and Kisii counties, which recognize CHWs and gives them a stipend, as well as providing for mentoring and supervision. This legislation forms a legal basis for securing a budget line for domestic resource mobilization for community health systems. Living Goods and other partners have walked this journey with government to ensure community health funding is sustainably entrenched in law, and we’ll continue to support the passage of legislation in Isiolo and Kisumu in 2022.
We believe leaders from governments, norm-setting bodies, and CHWs are our greatest advocates for DESC and ensuring the policies, practices, and funding are in place for national community health systems to reach the last mile. In 2022, we’ll continue working to ensure their voices resound in key forums and will maximize opportunities to advocate for the inclusion of DESC in key strategies. This includes supporting the development of Africa CDC’s 2022-2026 Community Health Strategy as the co-chair of the subcommittee on Policy and Guidance in the Community Health Technical Working Group.