The research on community-based animal health workers (CAHW) was
undertaken in West Pokot Wajir and Marsabit Districts of Kenya. The
objectives of the study were fourfold. First, the study aimed to
identify the 'ideal' qualities of CAHWs as perceived by veterinary
policy makers and pastoral livestock keepers. Second, it was intended to
investigate the relationship between applied selection criteria and
selection procedures for CAHWs and the sustainability of CAH systems.
The third objective was to evaluate gender issues in the selection of
CAHWs. And finally, the fourth objective was to elaborate evidence-based
policy recommendations to the appropriate decision makers on the
standardisation of CAHW selection, training and supervision procedures
with a view of ensuring quality and sustainability of CAH systems. In
relation to the stated objectives, the following recommendations emerge
from this study:
Prospective CAHW candidates should combine at least the following
three qualities: trustworthiness, commitment and responsibility; these
qualities can only be evaluated by community members.
The possibility and viability of training illegal drug sellers as
CAHWs should be seriously evaluated.
Community awareness and involvement
Community awareness of the selection criteria and qualities needed to
be eligible as CAHW needs to be improved.
The entire community needs to be involved in the selection process and
exclusive involvement of opinion leaders, elders or authorities should
be avoided. Special attention has to be drawn to women's involvement
in the selection process and as well as to their eligibility as
The study highlights the need to expand the Kenyan Veterinary Board
(KVB) 'Minimum standards and guidelines for the training for CAHWs in
Kenya' to include clear directives in relation to the procedures to
be followed during the CAHW selection process in order to increase
transparency and public and community awareness.
Accreditation and standardization
Ongoing initiatives by the Government of Kenya and KVB to recognise
and accredit CAHWs should be encouraged by stakeholders.
There is a need for a standardised CAHW training curriculum and the
minimum requirements are stated in the KVB training manual. These need
however to be applied in a way that enables enough flexibility within
the curriculum to respond to community priorities in different
locations. The KVB should ensure that such flexibility is adopted
during implementation of the standardised curriculum.
The analysis emphasises the importance of increasing current promotion
of (veterinary) public health extension messages in the CAHW
curriculum. It is suggested they be considered as minimum requirement
as opposed to their current status of suggested requirement.
In relation to the integration of the CAHWs in the National Animal
Health System, it is suggested that the interactions between CAHWs and
their supervisors (either Animal Health Assistants or veterinarians)
are further investigated in order to increase motivation and
incentives of both players, making the integrated system viable and
Financial viability of CAH systems is strongly dependent on 'user
behaviour'. This refers to community members actively demanding
services and willing to pay for them. However, the study found that
some communities are not willing to pay for services but think that
these should be provided for free by the government and/or NGOs. This
attitude needs to be addressed through community education and