Damaris Ochanda Onyango


Introduction: Many strides have been made over recent years in the reduction of mortality among children aged under-five years though disparities still exist between and within countries. Main causes of morbidity and mortality in Kenya among this age group are attributed to acute respiratory infections and pneumonia, diarrhoea, malaria, anaemia, and malnutrition. Over time Nyanza region has been posting the highest under-five mortality rate compared to the rest of the country. Reduction of under-five mortality can be achieved through linkages between households, communities, and health care facilities. The aim of this study was to determine the role of community health volunteers (CHVs) who are key players in these linkages, in an area where the under-five mortality rate has remained the highest in the country.

Methods: Cross sectional descriptive research design was used in this study. Qualitative data was collected through focus group discussions conducted with CHVs attached to programs and health facilities providing under-five care.

Findings: Community health volunteers’ role in under-five care includes health education, assessment, follow up of HIV exposed infants, ARV, and immunization defaulter tracing, dispensing of drugs and referral.

Conclusion and Recommendations: The CHVs are a link between households, communities and health facilities cannot be underestimated particularly in health education, health assessment, defaulter tracing, referral and community drug dispensing. It is recommended that this role should be strengthened through continuous training and close supervision by health care workers in the health facilities and under-five health programs where CHVs are attached.


Community health volunteer, community health worker, under-five health care services

Full Text:



Boschi-Pinto, C., Bah, R., & Martinez, J. (2009). Limited progress in increasing coverage of Neonatal and Child-health interventions in Africa and Asia. Journal for Health, Population and Nutrition, 27(6), 755-762.

Boschi-Pinto, C., Bahl, R., & Martines, J. (2009). Limited Progress in Increasing Coverage of neonatal and Child-health Interventions in Africa and Asia. Journal of Health Population and Nutrition, 27(6).

Brenner, J. L., Jerome Kabakyenga, Kyomuhangi, T., Wotton, K. A., Pim, C., Ntaro, M., . . . Singhal, N. (2011). Can Volunteer Community Health Workers Decrease Child Morbidity and Mortality in Southwestern Uganda? An Impact Evaluation. PLOS ONE. doi: DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0027997

Faber, M., Schoeman, S., Smuts, C. M., Adams, V., & Ford-Ngomane, T. (2009). Evaluation of Community-based growth monitoring in rural districts of Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal of South Africa. South Africa Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 22(4), 185-194.

GOK. (2012). Maternal and Child Health, Kenya (I.-P. Division, Trans.): The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health.

Gombe, N., Mabaera, B., Tshimanaga, M., Shambira, G., Chadambuka, A., & Nkomo, B. (2010). Evaluation of the integrated management of childhood illnes strategy implementation in BulawayoCity, Zimbabwe, 2006. South African Journal of Child Health, 4(1), 7-10.

KNBS. (2015). Kenya Demographic Health Survey, Key Indicators, 2014: Kenya National Bureau of Statistics.

Makworo, & Laving. (2010). Acute Medical Conditions in Under Five Year Old Children at a Public Hospital in Kenya. East African Medical Journal, 87(8), 340-344.

MODP. (2013). Kisumu County Development Profile. Nairobi.: Ministry of Devolution and Planning.

MOH, & UNICEF. (2010). Evaluation report of the community health strategy implementation in Kenya. . Nairobi: Division of community health services.

MOPHS. (2008 ). Child Survival and Development Strategy. Nairobi: Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation.

MOPHS. (2011). Training Community Health Committees in Kenya: The Handbook for Community Health Committees. Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation.

NCPD. (2012). A Look at the Child Health Services in Kenya. National Council for Population and Development.

Perez, F., Ba, H., Dastagire, S. G., & Altmann, M. (2009). The role of community health workers in improving child health programmes in mali. . BMC International Health and Human Rights, 9(28). doi: 10.1186/1472-698X-9-28

PMNCH. (2011). Reproductive Newborn Child Health Continuum of Care: WHO.

Rabezanahary, T. (2014). Training CHWS in Kenya-Lessons Learned Canadian Red Cross.

UN. (2013). Study by the World Health Organization on mortality among children under five years of age as a human rights concern: United Nations.

UNICEF. (2013). Senegal provides free access to health services for 2.5 million under-five children [Press release]. Retrieved from

WHO. (2007). Community health workers: What do we know about them? Lehmann & D. Sanders (Eds.). Geneva.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2017 Kenyan Journal of Nursing & Midwifery

© Numid Publishers        ISSN:  2518-8631