The County Department of Health and Sanitation, led by County Executive Committee Member (CECM) Dr Anthony Apalia, held an in-depth discussion with the UNICEF Kenya team on upcoming programmes for the year.
The UNICEF team tabled ongoing health programmes which are expected to be scaled up and new ones to be introduced.
The expected outputs are primary healthcare, immunisation, maternal and neonatal health and an outcome children’s health nutrition and WASH (Water, Hygiene and Sanitation).
With cross cutting issues such as emergency response, social behaviour change and health systems strengthening.
The CECM revealed that the department’s budget for the financial year 2023/2024 will focus on equipping and maintenance of the health facilities to improve the quality of the healthcare services delivered.
“The department is currently lobbying the Members of the County Assembly to support legislature that could create an emergency fund for health,” he said.
He welcomed UNICEF Kenya team to collaborate with the department in the advocacy and lobby efforts to ensure that County Health budget was increased.
The UNICEF team which was led by Rotuno Kipsang – Chief of Zonal Office (Lodwar), highlighted programmes which will be scaled up, including introduction of new vaccines for polio, typhoid and cholera
On cold-chain supply, UNICEF will be procuring a number of fridges that would be installed in new facilities and those in remote areas.
In nutrition, the latest surveys’ findings have informed the organisation to consider re-mapping the hotspots and increasing the outreaches to include other sub-counties to Turkana South, Turkana North and Turkana Central sub-counties.
The creation of a learning hub for training of healthcare workers to build their capacity in new medical techniques or induct the newly employed was slotted for this year.
To address the alarming number of teenage pregnancies, in the Kenya Demographic and Health Survey 2022 named Turkana as the fourth highest county, the organisation has added a component of adolescent health.
This output will be expected to include reproductive sexual health, menstrual hygiene and accessibility to healthcare services.
The Director of Administration and acting Chief Officer, Joyce Illikwel, requested the team to integrated the HPV vaccine into the outreaches and to consider the inclusion of Turkana as one of the recipient counties for the malaria vaccines.
The CCEM assured the team that the request for community health workers stipend to be regularised and training was one of Governor’s priority, therefore the department was working towards achieving the agenda.
Others in the meeting were Dr David Moru (Acting Deputy Director – Health Products and Technologies), Jonathan Longiti (County Community Health Services Coordinator), Sarah Lokaala (Deputy Director Policy, Planning and Monitoring and Evaluation), Reuben Kibiego (County WASH Coordinator), Nancy Kinyonge (Director – Partnerships), Dr Yvonne Musa (Deputy Director – Clinical Services), and UNICEF Kenya’s Dr Nelson Lolos (Health Specialist) and Francis Kidake (Nutrition Specialist).