Published: 2022-07-27

Training, knowledge and skills of community health volunteers on complementary feeding of children aged 6-23 months in Machakos, Kenya

Susan K. Kivaya, Juliana N. Kiio, Eunice W. Njogu


Background: Community health volunteers (CHVs) could help reduce malnutrition related mortality through advocacy of recommended complementary feeding (CF) practices. Low levels of education, inadequate training, and limited information on their competency in CF of children aged 6-23 months are some challenges these CHVs face.  The objective of this study was to establish training, knowledge and skills of CHVs on CF.

Method: The study adopted a cross-sectional analytical design. A total of 168 CHVs were randomly selected. A researcher administered questionnaire was used to collect data on knowledge and training of CHVs. Observation checklist was used to assess counselling skills of CHVs on CF. Both descriptive and inferential statistics were used to analyse data.

Results: Findings showed that 23.2%, 66.1%, and 10.7% of participants had high, moderate and low CF knowledge score respectively. Majority (83.9%) of CHVs had fair skills. Significant associations were observed between CHVs’ CF knowledge level and their occupation (AOR=1.63 CI; 1.23-8.25), education (AOR=3.36 CI; 1.07-10.59) and source of income (AOR=3.50 CI; 0.91-13.40). Overall, only 8.3% of the CHVs were competent based on knowledge on CF and their counseling skills to caregivers of children aged 6-23 months.

Conclusions: This study rates knowledge of CHVs as moderate and concludes that it is sub-optimal to promote appropriate CF. Counselling skills’ score indicated that CHVs possessed fair skills therefore lack practical skills to execute their duties. MOH and other stakeholders should enhance training of CHVs.


CHVs, CF, Knowledge, Skills

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