Community health workers will now be paid Sh2,000 a month for two hours' work to drive universal health coverage in four pilot counties, the government has said.
"For long, we have not taken their work seriously, and in most cases they are paid by donors when they want to push an agenda, for instance, collection of data. We want to make good use of them by ensuring that they are paid every month consistently," Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki told the Nation.
She stressed that governors had signed an agreement to pay the workers a basic monthly stipend. They usually work as unremunerated volunteers.
She added that any governor wishing the community health workers to work for more than two hours a month would have to remunerate them accordingly, above the minimum standard of Sh2,000.
"We are giving them this amount because they work as community volunteers for only 20 days a month as they are employed in other sectors," Director of Medical Services Jackson Kioko explained.
With the help of community extension officers, community health workers led the door-to-door registration of residents in Kisumu, Nyeri, Isiolo and Machakos for universal healthcare piloting, ahead of the official launch today.
"Community health workers will be the drivers of primary healthcare. This is the model that we want to apply," Ms Kariuki said.
She noted that roughly 75,000 workers had been trained to offer services in their communities. They will be linked to health facilities where they can refer patients for care.