The USAID supported Nawiri program in its second year has helped generate research evidence that will inform targeted interventions against malnutrition in Turkana.
Migration, stigma, cultural beliefs/practices, failure to present children for nutrition screening are the key challenges identified by the community health study as factors limiting access and utilization of nutrition services offered through the community health services model in the County.
This was said by health Chief Officer Capt. (Rtd) Augustine Lokwang’ during the closing of a two days’ meeting held at Lokichar to disseminate the study findings, co-create interventions and discuss ways to build more effective community health systems.
Lokwang said that findings of the Community Health Services (CHS) formative research highlighted critical areas of service delivery that needed to be strengthened in order to serve the community much better.
He added that the County was at an advanced stage of fast-tracking the roll out of interventions that would strengthen CHSs and make their work environment more rewarding.
“This Financial year 2021/2022, we lobbied with the county assembly to ensure adequate funds are budgeted to meet the incentives for community health volunteers. They appreciate the goodwill and support from the County Assembly to resolve deficits for CHSs stipend experience in the FY 2020/2021,” Lokwang’ said.
On matters reporting, supplies and utilization of health equipment by CHSs, Chief Lokwang’ hinted at the possibility of supporting the use of technology.
On his part, the field Director of Nawiri in Turkana, Gabriel Ekuwom said that the program has been designed to allow for collection of data to inform evidence-based interventions.
Ekuwom added that the results of the research will be used by both the County Government and Nawiri to co-create activities that will sustainably eradicate underlying causes of malnutrition.
“While we roll out CHS action research in 21 community units across the county, for the action research, program implementation and co-creation of solutions to the identified challenges will put the entire County in the picture,” Ekuwom remarked.
Noting the need to make CHS more robust since it is the interface between nutrition specific and nutrition sensitive interventions, Director Ekuwom said that the total of 14 studies undertaken by the program will all have a component of CHS strengthening.
At the end of the CHS action research activity, the proposed solutions included supervision, incentives, training, community support and recognition, and strengthened reporting.