Community Health & Development Unit Brief


The unit was established in 2008 following the review of the National Health Sector Strategic Plan II (NHSSP II, 2005/2010) which recommended the need to re -engineer and revitalize primary health care as an approach that would reverse the poor health indicators and declining health trends. The new approach was named as Community Health Strategy and was rolled out from 2006 as one of Vision 2030 flagship projects and placed under the stewardship of the health sector reforms secretariat.

Community health strategy is the mechanism through which households and communities strengthen their roles in health and development issues, by increasing their knowledge skills, and practices. The approach recognizes that all communities are already actively engaged in health activities for the survival of their households. Community health is the backbone infrastructure to reach all households not only for health, but other services; it is the link between health facilities and the community.
Community Health Unit (CHU)

The Community Health Unit (CHU) comprises households organized in functional villages or sub-locations and formally recognized as the first tier in Kenya’s health system. A CHU shall serve a prescribed size of the population, and will be supported by a prescribed number of Community Health Volunteers (CHVs) and Community Health Extension Workers (CHEW) based on determinants such as population density. The CHU shall be governed by a Community Health Committee (CHC), which shall be linked to a primary health care facility to support the CHU’s implementation of its activities.

Community health is anchored in key policy documents including;

  1. The Constitution of Kenya 2010 clearly states that everyone has the right to health and the only way this is possible is through the Community Health approach.
  2. In Vision 2030 Social Pillar, community health strategy is one of the government flagship projects
  3. The Jubilee Manifesto which places Primary/Community Health in a place of prominence for taking health services closer to the people
  4. The Kenya Health Act- Recognises community health as Level One Health Services
  5. The Kenya Health Policy Framework 2014-2030 recognized community health asa key level within the health care system.
  6. The Kenya National Health Sector Strategic and Investment Plan 2014-2018 has adopted community health as service delivery level.

Our Mandate

The mandate of the Unit:

  • Development of Community Health Policies, Legislation and guidelines;
  • Standard Setting for community Health Services
  • Resource mobilization for Community Health
  • Community health technical support to counties.
  • Capacity building of county staff on community health.
  • Conducting Community health Research to improve health services
  • Community health Partner coordination

Communities are the foundation of affordable, equitable and effective health care and are the core of Kenya Essential Package for Health (KEPH). Households and communities not only provide the largest forum for preventive, promotive, curative and rehabilitative actions but also provide clinical care of the critically and chronically ill.The current public health system in Kenya consists of four tiers of care; Community Level (Tier one) is the foundation of the health system.

For more information visit the units website