Meet Francis Aila, a passionate advocate for public health, with a particular focus on improving the lives of children, youth, and mothers. As a nutritionist responsible for addressing public health issues in Homa Bay County, Kenya, Francis is dedicated to utilizing his knowledge to help communities lead healthier lives. We are thrilled to feature Francis in our “Champions of Local Democracy” series, recognizing his outstanding contributions and unwavering commitment to improving the health and well-being of those in his community.
Francis Aila is also one of the participants in the municipal partnership between Region Västerbotten and Homa Bay County. The aim of the partnership is to promote equitable, accessible, and quality health care. The partnership is also part of the ICLD’s network for equitable health. Recently, the partnership has completed a three-year project aimed at creating a more accessible and efficient health service while involving citizens in the process.
– “It is through the dialogue with citizens, both in the city and in the villages, that we really find out what improvements are needed in our health system and what citizens want the health system to provide,” says Francis.
The results of the project have been good. Better cooperation between different ministries is now a fact, strategic agreements and plans for health care improvements are in place, and most importantly, implementation of concrete solutions within the health care system have started, which is a very good result! The partnership has also brought a lot of attention to Homa Bay. For example, it was presented with its own programme item at the major Africities conference in May 2022 in Kisumu, which was attended by more than 6,500 participants from all over Africa.
Many factors need to be considered
One of the key lessons learnt from the project is to link sectors such as health, education and water/waste. It’s like a complex matrix that has to work together.
– We used to work in silos, but the collaboration has taught us that all these components need to be considered in the work. People’s health is not determined by one, but by many factors. In the fight to provide equitable care, we have to involve everyone, we can’t solve the problems alone, no matter how much money we can get, says Francis.
Roselyn Omollo, Minister of Health in Homa Bay County, sees great value in the project and in expanding the collaboration to cover more areas related to health:
” We learn a lot through this kind of project, it really helps us to bridge the gaps,” she says.
A new project within the partnership has been approved, still with the aim of promoting equitable, accessible and quality healthcare but with focus on youth health and the capacity of health care providers to deliver sexual, reproductive and mental health services to young people in Homa Bay County.
In addition, the partnership with Region Västerbotten has led to a new partnership between Homa Bay County and Lycksele Municipality on water and waste issues – a collaboration that indirectly promotes good health but also directly promotes sustainable development.
ICLD Champions of Local Democracy
Our “Champions of Local Democracy” series features individuals with inspiring personal stories who embody democratic values. Regardless of gender or status, they have shown courage and integrity in the face of adversity, and serve as role models for others. Get inspired!