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Influence of health education services provided by community health workers on perfomance of child health care programmes in Mbeere South; Embu County; Kenya

Author: 
Rehema Ibrahim, Dr. Peter Keiyoro and Dr. Josephine Ngunjiri
Subject Area: 
Life Sciences
Abstract: 

The burden of disease has continued to increase in most countries that have low social demographic Index including Kenya at sub national levels. Following the shortage of qualified health personnel and health facilities to serve the public, Community health workers come handy to bridge the gap in the health care systems. They are the most immediate contact with the community members as they are selected from their communities by community members through public participation, hence relate well with the respective communities often the communities know them well. The role of community health workers in improving child health Programmes is not yet fully understood although likely to promote lowering the disease burden at local levels. However, their major role is often to transfer knowledge, Information and skills through health education to community members. These relationships in most cases may enable them provide basic clinical support and health education that may promote primary health care as well as secondary disease prevention. Yet, their capacity to provide these services could be limited in terms of resources, knowledge and skills. Hence the purpose of the study was to investigate the influence of health education services provided by community health workers in the performance of child health care programmes; the case of Mbeere south in Embu county, Kenya. The objectives of the study were to determine how; Information provided through Newsletters, brochures; educational household visits and creation of awareness of diseases, injuries or risk factors influenced performance of child health care programmes. The study adopted Cross-sectional survey design and targeted a population of 346 households that had children aged five years and below and being served by 32 community health workers and 4 Community Health Extension Workers. The study had 222 respondents that is, 186 households, 32 Community Health Workers and 4 Community Health Extension Workers. Community health workers provided information on general healthcare practices, nutrition issues, and post/pre-natal care. The study found that Mothers were conversant and well instructed on child and maternal healthcare by the Community Health Workers. Community Health Workers effectively provided information on the need to seek antenatal care since majority of the households 125(69%) strongly agreed that they well advised on best practice. This could most likely led to low rates of mortality cases for new born babies in the area. It was therefore, recommended that there should be sustainable provision of educational service to communities in order reduce the burden of disease among children in the communities.

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