Critical Success Factors for Deployment of Primary Health Care Networks and their Impact in Kenya

  • Yvonne Opanga Amref Health Africa in Kenya
  • Saida Kassim Amref Health Africa in Kenya
  • Gilbert Wangalwa Amref Health Africa in Kenya
  • Aloise Gikunda Amref Health Africa in Kenya
  • Emmanuel Musombi Amref Health Africa in Kenya
  • Anne Gitimu Amref Health Africa in Kenya
  • Isaac Ntwiga Amref Health Africa in Kenya
  • Meshack Ndirangu Amref Health Africa in Kenya
Keywords: Primary Health Care Networks, Primary Health Care, Observatory, Universal Health Coverage, Multi-Disciplinary Teams, Access, Policies
Share Article:


The Government of Kenya through the Bottom-up Economic Transformational Agenda (BETA) acknowledges Primary Health Care (PHC) as a cost-effective and efficient means to achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC). The aim is to enhance equitable access to high-quality and affordable healthcare for all Kenyan citizens. Primary Health Care Networks (PCNs) are gaining traction as the main mode of achieving PHC in Low- and Middle-Income Countries, and Kenya is no exception. In Kenya, PCNs approach seeks to empower local communities at subcounty level through mobilizing resources and strengthening their decision-making authority to address context specific healthcare needs. The investment in PCNs is geared towards advancing equitable access to quality healthcare at the community level, mitigating fragmentation of health care services, strengthening preventive and promotive healthcare hence creating a more resilient and efficient healthcare system. The Ministry of Health in Kenya, in collaboration with County Governments and Development partners, initiated a Rapid Results Initiative (RRI) to deploy PCNs across the country in August, 2023. The goal was to establish 315 Primary Health Care Networks (PCN) across the 47 counties in Kenya. This was preceded by a Pilot phase in 3 Counties (Kisumu, Garissa, and Kwale) which was conducted in 2021. The pilot phase informed cost-effective approaches for the deployment and critical success factors for scale-up of PCNs countrywide. The nationwide deployment of PCNs followed a 10-step process of establishing PCNs as stipulated in Kenya PHC Guidelines. Data on experiences, progress in implementation and lessons learnt was abstracted from grey literature including reports from PCN establishment at County level, Stakeholder meetings through Accelerator and Sustainability taskforce and data from PCN observatory.  The average time taken to establish a PCN was 3 weeks and costed approximately USD 34,000 for its full establishment. As at 20th December, 2023 (within 4 months of initiating the RRI), of the target of 315 PCNs, 93(30%) PCNs were fully established, 27(9%) PCNs were in progress and 195(62%) yet to start. Out of the 47 counties, 37(79%) counties have at least a fully established PCN, 4 Counties are in the process of establishing the first PCN and 6 are awaiting partner readiness. The eight main critical success factors for successful establishment included:  County ownership and commitment, availability of Key Policy guidelines and strategies for reference, funding from development partners and donors, leveraging on existing National and County governance structures, multisectoral collaborations and partnerships, tracking of PCN establishment through National PCN observatory and Community engagement. Key process enablers to successful role out included: Meaningful engagement of development and implementing partners, Execution through County trained TOTs, Community engagement through Community Health Workforce and support from National Government. Over time, the Established PCNs in 3 pilot counties have demonstrated significant reduction in facility based maternal mortality, increased access to NCD screening services, coordinated health care workers through MDTs and improved forward and backward referrals. Additionally, incorporated innovation models within PCNs have improved access to medical supplies and specialized healthcare services at level 2 and 3 facilities. To achieve successful scale up of PCNs and sustainability for impact it is critical to contextualize PCNs to the County needs, establish sustainable primary health care financing mechanism for PCN activities, Strengthen PCN governance structures and utilise PCN observatory to continuously track PCN performance measurements and decision making. Adoption of a unified focus on PCN performance improvement including one PCN strategy, one action plan on how to optimally implement PCNs and one monitoring framework is critical. If implemented successfully, PCNs will contribute to long term social return on investments and improved health indicators for the Country


Download data is not yet available.


Republic of Kenya Ministry of Health Primary Health Care Network Guidelines. 2021;

Strengthening Primary Health Care in Kenya through Policies - Newsroom [Internet]. [cited 2023 Oct 8]. Available from:

Budget Partnership Kenya I. Kenya Budget Calendar, National and County | International Budget Partnership.

Masinde M. pg. i. [cited 2023 Nov 26]; Available from:

Karuga R, Kok M, Luitjens M, Mbindyo P, Broerse JEW, Dieleman M. Participation in primary health care through community-level health committees in Sub-Saharan Africa: a qualitative synthesis. BMC Public Health [Internet]. 2022 Dec 1 [cited 2023 May 22];22(1):1–17. Available from:

Stigler F, MacInko J, Pettigrew LM, Kumar R, Van Weel C. No universal health coverage without primary health care. The Lancet [Internet]. 2016 Apr 30 [cited 2023 Oct 5];387(10030):1811. Available from:

Harrington JW, Brixey SN. Foreword for clinically integrated networks and the future of primary care. Curr Probl Pediatr Adolesc Health Care. 2021 Aug 1;51(8).

Agyemang-Benneh A, Francetic I, Hammond J, Checkland K. Evaluating Primary Health Care Networks in low-income and lower middle-income countries: a scoping review. BMJ Glob Health [Internet]. 2023 Aug 1 [cited 2023 Oct 5];8(8):e012505. Available from:

Agatha Olago CGSHEW. Kenya’s Primary Health Care Networks Can Help Deliver Better Care for All - Management Sciences for Health [Internet]. [cited 2023 Oct 5]. Available from:

“Afya Yetu, Jukumu Letu.” [cited 2023 Nov 26]; Available from:

Kenya-Primary-Healthcare-Strategic-Framework-Signed.pdf - REPUBLIC OF KENYA MINISTRY OF HEALTH KENYA PRIMARY HEALTH CARE STRATEGIC | Course Hero [Internet]. [cited 2023 Nov 26]. Available from:

Kenya Community Health Strategy 2020 - 2025. 2020 [cited 2023 Nov 26]; Available from:

National Community Health Digitization Strategy (2020-2025 - Search [Internet]. [cited 2023 Nov 26]. Available from:

THE PRIMARY HEALTH CARE BILL, 2023 A Bill for AN ACT of Parliament to provide a framework for the delivery of and access to and management of primary health care; and for connected purposes.

Bills 2023 | Ministry of Health [Internet]. [cited 2023 Nov 26]. Available from:

16 January, 2024
How to Cite
Opanga, Y., Kassim, S., Wangalwa, G., Gikunda, A., Musombi, E., Gitimu, A., Ntwiga, I., & Ndirangu, M. (2024). Critical Success Factors for Deployment of Primary Health Care Networks and their Impact in Kenya. East African Journal of Health and Science, 7(1), 10-21.