Today marks the end of a 2-day workshop of Homabay County training on sustainable health financing and governance that brought together the top leadership of the county led by H.E Governor Cyprian Awiti, deputy governor Hamilton Orata, all county executive and some directors and county administrators including the Members of the County Assembly in Mombasa. The workshop covered issues on health governance and financing such as sustainable health financing and aims to create a paradigm shift in the health delivery process in Homabay county.
The workshop was organised by the National AIDS Control Council through a LISTEN (Local Innovation Spread Through Enterprise Network) model, an innovative and accountability network model that focuses on Communities of Practice (CoP) using a Human Centered Design (HCD) approach to the strengthen delivery of services both Health and non-health being piloted in Homabay and Kiambu counties in Kenya. The model is being piloted in 3 countries in Africa; Kenya, Malawi and Eswatini with support Georgetown University.
In his remarks, H.E Governor Awiti thanked the National AIDS Control Council and the Georgetown University for their efforts in HIV response in the County, that has changed the mindset of the people in the HIV response incorporating a multisectoral approach that looks at issues beyond HIV. He said, “Homabay county’s response to HIV is multisectoral and the more reason that he ensured all the county executives attended the workshop”.
Initially known as Business Process for Impact (BPI) model and changed to LISTEN model that started to be piloted in March last year has transformed the thinking of the people in Mfangano Island and Dhiwa sub-counties of Homabay by putting communities at the centre in seeking solutions to their problems.
Through ordinary grassroots gatherings of Boda Boda and fisherfolk communities that meet and discuss various issues that affect them such as security and road safety, the LISTEN model has used these avenues to plugin issues on HIV and other health issues, making them salient and feature as part of the problems that require solutions. The model has linked these communities with policymakers including county administrators and service providers as part of the process in finding solutions to their problems.
The county leadership reiterated that the LISTEN model has tremendously reduced Boda Boda accidents, boosted the savings culture through banking and in health, there is an increase of linking new HIV cases to treatment, increase use of condoms uptake for HIV prevention and reduction of HIV stigma, promotion of male circumcision and family planning.
National AIDS Control Council Dr Nduku Kilonzo praised Homabay County for good progress in HIV response in testing however she pointed that the number of men who are on treatment after testing is low compared to women and she challenged the county to come up with mechanisms that will encourage men to seek and adhere to treatment after testing.
The LISTEN model endeavours to see the countries such as Homabay County transition to an environment which shall integrate demographic dynamics into development planning in health at the county and sub-county levels to comprehensively respond to population and development issues, including population dynamics and its implications for human rights, dignity, quality of life, poverty eradication and sustainable development leading to the achievement of Universal Health Coverage.
Pro. Khama Rogo who was the keynote speaker during the workshop reiterated that health is at the centre of sustainable development goals and that health motivates everybody and challenged the counties in Kenya to approach health issues with open minds driven by innovation.
The workshop comes at a time when Kenya is transiting into a lower middle-income country, a move that will progressively make the country experience a shift in healthcare funding that relies on external donor financing towards domestic funding in areas such as HIV, TB, malaria, reproductive health and vaccines which have been heavily donor-funded. The country needs to engage in designing new ways that will scale up HIV response to sustain the gains made and continue reaching global and national goals, making sure that the future generation remains AIDS-free.