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Nomadic Clinics in Baringo County

18.10.2017  14:08

For many years, residents of Baringo County have struggled to access health care facilities. The county with a population of over seven hundred thousand people covers a vast area mostly characterized by arid and semi-arid conditions.  Residents travel an average distance of 10-15 kilometres to the nearest health facility and in extreme cases the distance goes up to 30 kilometres. At the onset of devolution in 2013, the Baringo County government sought to improve access to health care by building more static health facilities.  Whilst this led to a marked improvement  in key healthcare indicators, the facilities were mostly located in densely populated areas to the detriment of other county residents who observe nomadic/pastoralist lifestyles.
In a bid to increase accessibility to healthcare for nomadic and other marginalised populations, Baringo County government collaborated with the DANIDA Health Sector Programme Support III (Kenya) to introduce Nomadic Clinics. Nomadic clinics are mobile health facilities that are equipped with the necessary medical staff and resources to facilitate wider coverage of health services to the hard to reach populations. The clinics provide a range of integrated health services including disease prevention (e.g. child immunization programs), promotive and curative health services. The clinics have also been introduced in Kajiado and Marsabit counties respectively. These counties were selected because they have challenges with marginalized groups accessing healthcare due to the vastness of the counties and the nomadic nature of the population.
DANIDA Health Program jointly with the Baringo County Department of Health recently organized a training for health services providers from the various sub counties in Baringo. The training introduced the Nomadic Clinics concept, including salient points on the features and operations of the clinic. Participants also actively participated in the actual assembling of a nomadic clinic unit.
The clinics are set up and are operational in an area for approximately fourteen days after which they move to the next location. The radius of operation of the nomadic clinic is informed by various criteria including distance to the nearest static health facility, timelines informed by coordinated health programs and seasonal migratory patterns of the pastoralists.  To ensure further outreach motorbikes are attached to each clinic and these are sent out into the community in special circumstances e.g. to ensure that children do not miss their immunization shots.
The support by the DANIDA health programme has several objectives most notably support to the devolved health sector in the form of operational support for primary health care facilities and strengthening of health systems at county and national government levels.
The support to the counties is coupled with a strong push towards sustainability of existing efforts by the counties and in response to this push, Baringo County has incorporated a strong focus on outreach into their County Integrated Development Program. Their aim is to facilitate and run 60 outreach health facilities within the next five years. The county government recognizes that transformation will only be successful if it integrates healthcare financing, adequate human resources and proper data collection to inform the interventions needed in the county.

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