Role of community health workers in enhancing maternal health care program in Mombasa county, Kenya
In spite of considerable progress in many countries in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for health, progress is inadequate, stalled, or even worsening in a number of countries, particularly in Africa (UNICEF & WHO, 2012; UN, 2011). Community Health Workers (CHWs) are now recognized by the World Health Organization and the Global Health Workforce Alliance as an integral component of the health workforce needed for the progression of health-related MDGs.The objectives of this study was to determine the role of CHWs in providing education services, provision of preventive materials, referring mothers and providing Social support and advocacy to enhance maternal health care in Mombasa County. Role development theory is used as the theoretical framework for the current study. The study used a descriptive survey research design. The population for the study included550 households and 50 community health workers in Tudor Moroto, Mombasa County. The sample size for the study was calculated using Role (2010) formula whereby 225 household (mothers who have infants aged less than 6 months) and 50 CHWs were sampled using systematic random sampling technique. The study used structured questionnaires and interview schedule as instruments for data collection. The research tested the research instruments for validity (content validity) and reliability (test-retest). The researchersought approval from the relevant authoritiesbefore conducting field work. The data collected from the field was analysed using quantitative and qualitative research methods. Quantitative data was analysed using descriptive; frequencies, percent, mean and standard deviation and inferential statistics; chi square with the help of SPSS computer software (Version 20.0). Content analysis method was used to analyse qualitative data from interview with CHWs. Findings of the analysis are presented using tables, pie charts, graphsas well as narrations for qualitative data. The results of the study showed that CHWs played a significant role (p<0.05) in enhancing maternal healthcare in Tudor Moroto community unit. However, only 50% of the population received CHWs services on MHC. The study found out that MHC educational materials, materials, drugs, health facilities and FP supplies were inadequate according to CHWs and respondents opinion. The study recommends training for CHWs, governmental support towards availing preventive materials and supplies, committed leadership and introduction of mobile clinics to reduce the distance between households and health facilities. This will end up reducing mortality rates in the community unit. The findings of the study will be helpful to Ministry of Health (at county and national level) in taking strategic steps towards reducing mortality rates in the unit and country at large.