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Understanding Meru County’s Community Health Volunteer (CHV) cadre to inform program strengthening

16 November 2021

Photo credit: Jonathan Torgovnik/Getty Images/Images of Empowerment

Report: Understanding Meru County’s Community Health Volunteer (CHV) Cadre to Inform Program Strengthening - 695 KB

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Brief: Strengthening Meru County’s Community Health Volunteer Programme - 144 KB

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Executive Summary

Kenya’s Vision 2030 has identified the use of Community Health Volunteers (CHVs) as a key approach to improve healthcare in the country. Evidence indicates that strong CHV programs lead to a citizenry that is more engaged in care decisions and reduces the financial burden on care within the health sector.1 2 Similarly, the County Government of Meru has identified specific programs that are reliant on a strong CHV program to achieve its goal of improving health services as part of its long-term development strategy, Meru Vision 2040.3

It is for this reason that the County Government of Meru has prioritized the strengthening of Community Health Service Provision in the County within its County Integrated Development Plan (2018-2022).4 In September 2020, IDinsight and the County Government of Meru’s Efficiency Monitoring Unit (EMU) worked together to generate data and insights on the economic and health effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and disease control measures on Meru County residents. The study revealed both the need to enhance robustness of the CHV program as well as challenges to doing so including the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The County Government of Meru is committed to using data and evidence to inform a data-driven and context- specific approach to achieving a robust CHV program that will deliver on Meru County’s Vision 2040.

IDinsight partnered with the County to design a phone survey of Meru County CHVs with the goal of providing the County with data that could better direct efforts and resources toward a stronger CHV program. After obtaining ethical approval and conducting piloting, IDinsight conducted the survey in September 2021 with a random sample of 746 CHVs. IDinsight collaborated with the County Government on this study to understand:

  1. The perceived needs of CHVs regarding training and toolkit use;
  2. CHV digital readiness and perceptions towards the use of digital technology in their work;
  3. CHV perceptions of the health facility referral process; and
  4. CHV knowledge and attitudes towards their roles and responsibilities.

This report contains our findings and recommendations.

  1. 1. L. Nkonki, A. Tugendhaft & K. Hofman, “A systematic review of economic evaluations of CHW interventions aimed at improving child health outcomes”, Human Resources for Health (February, 2017):
  2. 2. Mirkuzie Woldie, Garumma Tolu Feyissa, Bitiya Admasu, et al, “Community health volunteers could help improve access to and use of essential health services by communities in LMICs: an umbrella review”, The Journal on Health Policy and Systems Research (December, 2018):
  3. 3. County Government of Meru, “Meru Vision 2040: A Prosperous, United and Happy Society”, Government Press (2019): POPULAR%20VERSION.pdf
  4. 4. County Government of Meru, “County Integrated Development Plan (CIDP) 2018-2022”, Council of Governors: development-plans-2018-2022?download=306:meru-county-integrated-development-plan-2018- 2022