Living Goods has signed a five-year co-financing agreement with the County Government of Vihiga, marking its third such partnership in Kenya after Isiolo and Kisumu. We are using lessons learned from Isiolo and Kisumu regarding cohort size, timing of training of CHWs and supervisors, the significance of supportive policies and frameworks and the importance of political support to guide our approach.
Through this partnership, 1,460 CHWs and nearly 150 CHAs will be digitally empowered, equipped, supervised and compensated to enhance the delivery of integrated primary healthcare services for the 630,000 county residents. As Vihiga is a malaria-endemic region with a high under-five mortality rate of 133 deaths per 1,000 live births (KDHS 2022), the additional training and support will ensure that CHWs offer timely diagnoses, treatments, referrals and follow-ups for the most common illnesses across the county.
At the signing of the agreement, County Governor Dr Wilber Otichillo noted that improving the working conditions of CHWs is part of his five-year agenda.
“Today is a special day for the people of Vihiga as we welcome Living Goods to join hands with us in strengthening our community health system, where we face the biggest disease burden and where our impact will be most felt,” remarked the governor. He added: “I believe this co-funding and co-implementation approach is a sure way of managing our community health system sustainably.”
The County Government will lead on training, procurement of essential commodities, allocation of appropriate human resources—CHWs and CHAs, among others—provision of mobile phones for CHWs plus maintenance and replacement where necessary. Living Goods will support program implementation through the co development of performance matrixes, impact evaluation and coaching and mentoring county teams. Additionally, we will provide tablets and data bundles to supervisors. The county will initially invest 58% of the program costs, rising to 71% over time.
In the second half of the year, we hope to carry out a baseline survey and capacity review assessment. In the meantime, we have already started supporting the county in developing its next five-year County Integrated Development Plan, which ringfences budgets for the planned activities.