, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 10 – Garissa has been rated the best performing county in the implementation of practices that have most enhanced delivery of health services following an assessment by the Ministry of Health, with support from the Japan International Cooperation Agency.
Garissa scooped the prestigious award by increasing the number of deliveries within health facilities and reducing maternal mortality rates through a raft of innovative measures. It was followed closely by Embu County and the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital (MTRH) which tied at position two while Kajiado County emerged position three in the Best Practices Awards.
It has increased access to health services through maternal shelters, MAMA Kits, incentives for traditional birth attendants and Community Health Extension Workers, the use of WhatsApp messaging to connect health facilities among others.
“Best practices in the health sector are utilised in achieving objectives in different health sector investment areas. The underlying principle of their utility is in their proven superiority in achieving results compared to common or usual practice. It is my sincere hope that all actors in Health rally behind the reporting and utilisation of Best practices to ensure we all progressively move towards the realization of the country’s desired health goals,” said Health Cabinet Secretary Dr Cleopa Mailu.
An analysis of the county found that mothers who deliver in health facilities get a Sh300 MAMA Kit which comes with goodies aimed at encouraging facility delivery.
The county has also set up maternal shelters for expectant mothers who come from far flung areas.
These shelters act as a home-away-from-home for the mothers and bring them close to a health facility as their due date draws near.
The county further gives traditional birth attendants and Community Health Extension Workers Sh200 for every mother that they take to a health facility for delivery.
The traditional birth attendants are allowed to be present during delivery of the mother for moral support, and in some occasions, allowed to deliver the mother in the facility together with the skilled worker.
The Community Health Extension Workers are on the other hand assigned to 20 households each and are able to tell when one is in need of medical attention. They are also connected to the chiefs, who provide security in case of a referral.
Embu County was, on the other hand, awarded for the formation of a WhatsApp County Commodity Committee that is tasked with distributing medical supplies and ensuring that all the sub-county health facilities have the requisite medical supplies.
“Innovativeness and inventiveness is underscored in Embu County where the WhatsApp mobile phone application is utilised in pharmaceutical commodity management,” MoH said. “The Embu case was best in areas of leadership, sustainability and innovativeness with over 80pc while, areas that were weak were community involvement, partnerships and ethical soundness.”
MTRH was awarded for increased service delivery through its 24-hour Trauma and Accidents Treatment Centre.
Kajiado County was ranked position three for enhancing healthcare services for mothers and children under-five.
In addition, the Kenya Medical Supplies Agency (KEMSA), West Pokot, Kiambu and Kericho Counties were commended for adopting various innovative practices.
KEMSA received a certificate of best practice for the use of ICT in logistics management and information system.
West Pokot County was recognized for efforts in reducing maternal mortality through the provision of a waiting home for all expectant mothers while Kiambu County was honoured for using affordable phones to mobilise communities to come for services.
Kericho County was similarly hailed for the installation of infrastructure and modern CT scans.
Health care spending has gradually and consistently increased in an environment of limited resources warranting the need for efficiency and cost effectiveness in Health interventions.
Health is also adversely affected by external factors such as climate change, political instability and globalization for instance; Kenya still faces challenges in attaining its health goals, child mortality remains a challenge, with poor nutrition leading to unacceptably high stunting levels.
Maternal mortality stands at 362 deaths per 100,000 live births.
“Various strategies are in place to combat these challenges, amongst them the use of Best Practices in service delivery interventions, said Health CS Mailu. “Implementation of this intervention has led to improvement of maternal morbidity indicators as well as an increase in the number of skilled deliveries.
Annual Performance contracting review was institutionalised in the country in 2003, in order to enhance sustainable economic growth and development.