The senior officers from the Department of Health and Sanitation together with USAID NAWIRI have concluded a joint learning session with discussions on program sustainability.
The collaborative teams engaged in support supervision for Adapted Mother-to-Mother Group, Transformative Masculinity, Adapted Girl-H, and REAP for Nutrition (R4N), which were being implemented at the Kang’akipur in Kalapata Ward, Turkana South.
The County Executive for Health and Sanitation, Dr Francis Mariao, drew parallels between the team’s efforts and the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 17, as it ensures the achievement of their goal of reducing malnutrition.
“To ensure sustainability in project implementation, systems, collaboration, a multi-sectoral approach and linkages with other coordination mechanisms should be in place,” he said.
He revealed that the County Government is working towards the establishment of sub-county steering groups, extending to ward and village levels, to ensure sustained progress.
CECM Mariao highlighted that the Department had already established Technical Working Groups (TWG) for nutrition and One Health, thus working to establish similar groups in the other programs.
“The creation of a health coordination cluster mechanism, strengthened by terms of reference, mapping of partners and linkage coordination mechanisms, and resource mobilization through the County Steering Group (CSG) and KISDEP II is the approach I envision,” CECM said.
Dr. Mariao urged the county team to adopt the Kenya Partnership and Coordination Framework (2018-2030) to develop capacity and minimize resource stresses due to its scarcity and competing priorities.
He stressed the importance of building on initiatives like One Health, integrated outreaches, Community Disease Reporters (CDRs) in livestock, and agricultural extension officers as quick wins of sustainability.
Addressing the ongoing insecurity in the county, Dr Mariao acknowledged its threat to working towards reducing persistent acute malnutrition.
The County Chief Officer (CCO) for Medical Services, Dr. Gilchrist Lokoel, highlighted persistent acute malnutrition as a symptom of broader sectoral gaps, including food insecurity and lack of access to safe water.
He challenged the USAID NAWIRI team to expand its dietary messaging to include fortified traditional foods for preservation, to be used during drought season as a coping mechanism.
Dr Lokoel emphasized the need for tailored programs for fisherfolk, pastoralists, agro-pastoralists, and urban and pre-urban populations as their main livelihoods.
His colleague in Preventive and Promotive Health, Peter Lomorukai, called for a multi-sectoral approach to address health sector gaps for the three years left after much time was dedicated to the research.
Chief Lomorukai stressed the importance of collaboration between USAID NAWIRI and other health sector partners, to support the County Government, particularly in matters of human resources for health (HRH).
The Health Systems Advisor for USAID NAWIRI, Lominito Lomoru, expressed appreciation for the county health senior leadership for their participation in the session.
Lominito added that the delivery of quality healthcare services depended on collaboration, sequence, and integration to collectively reduce acute persistent malnutrition sustainably in the county.
The review from the field brought out the gaps in family planning and HIV prevention measures. However, the different groups demonstrated good knowledge of nutrition and their specific messaging and linkage to community health promoters to ensure sustainability.
In his closing remarks, CECM Dr Mariao commended USAID NAWIRI and all participants from the county, reiterating the importance of joint planning and implementation of the program for continued success.