Liverpool hosts Kenyan community health leads in innovative exchange programme with Homabay County

News article 13 May 2024
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The Liverpool visit began with an introductory meeting with LSTM Director Professor David Lalloo

Community health and public health leads from Kenya and Liverpool are taking part in an innovative mutual exchange programme to learn and be inspired by each other’s work.

Six ‘change-maker’ pairs – working in strategic and frontline community health roles in Liverpool and in Homabay County in western Kenya – will take part in the exchange, jointly hosted by Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM) and the charity LVCT Health in Kenya, which was launched in March and kicks off with a visit from the Kenyan delegation to Merseyside in May.

The exchange, part of the UKAid funded THET Global Health Workforce Programme, will foster international relationships between local government teams working in community and primary healthcare. Through mutual learning and sharing, the programme will support the teams as they develop innovative workforce strategies in primary care and community health, to tackle health equity challenges in their own contexts.

With over 2,500 community health promoters in Homabay County supporting pregnant women to access antenatal care, skilled delivery and childhood immunisations, Homabay has a lot of expertise to share.

In Liverpool, community health programmes are increasingly including community champions to address rising health inequalities, but to date have only a handful of champions from local community organisations. The expansion of primary care networks in Kenya means the UK system is also of great interest to the Kenyan team. This exchange programme asks what Liverpool can learn from the Kenyan context and vice versa.

We are excited to welcome public and community health professionals from Homabay County in Kenya and here in Liverpool to LSTM for a week of learning and relationship building

The exchange programme, hosted by LSTM in the UK and by LVCT Health in Kenya, builds on their longstanding partnerships with Homabay County Government in Kenya and in Liverpool with Liverpool City Council. The Liverpool participants will visit Kenya in July.

The pairs, made up of public health directors, primary care network clinical leads, community engagement workers, youth advocates and community organisations, will spend time shadowing each other, learning about each other’s healthcare challenges and visiting successful community health projects in both locations.

Professor Miriam Taegtmeyer, Professor of Global Health at LSTM, said: “We are excited to welcome public and community health professionals from Homabay County in Kenya and here in Liverpool to LSTM for a week of learning and relationship building. By sharing best practice we can build a sustainable, international collaboration that can tackle health inequalities on a global scale.”

Roselynn Omolloh, Homabay County Executive for Health, said: "Community Health Practice is the base for the fulfilment and actualization of Universal Healthcare: It is not an alternative intervention, it is the solution to ensuring every homestead has access to Healthcare and Health information. This is the core of Service Delivery for Health in Homa Bay and in Kenya.”

Cllr Harry Doyle, Liverpool City Council's Cabinet Member for Public Health, said: “We are delighted to be part of this exchange visit.

"Liverpool has a long and proud track record in innovating in public health and we are pleased to be able to offer an insight into the work taking place in the city, as well as learning more from counterparts in Kenya.”