Govt to Recruit 3,700 Community Health Workers
The Health Ministry will in the financial year 2017/2018 recruit 3,715 Community Health Workers (CHWs), Prof. Anthony Mbonye, the Director General of Health Services has said.
According to Mbonye, the community health workers will replace Village Health Teams (VHTs) in health service provision in communities. Unlike VHTs that have been working in their villages, the CHWs will be managing parishes and these will be two individuals per parish for the more than 7,000 parishes in the country.
In an interview with PRIME RADIO, Mbonye also revealed that these will be paid a monthly salary of 180,000 Shillings and will also receive motor cycles for transport.
Mbonye says the ministry has started on a process of phasing out VHTs because of the challenges that have been identified with the strategy.
In a survey conducted by the ministry this year, only 60,000 VHTs were found to have been trained to manage patients in communities out of the 180,000 members of the team. Mbonye noted that because of such challenges with the strategy, the ministry has decided to recruit two CHWs per parish giving priority to VHTs that have at least completed Senior Four level.
He added that currently the Health and Education ministries have jointly developed a curriculum for the CWHs and these will have to undergo a one year training.
He also noted that these will be considered as civil servants with a salary and a motorcycle to enable them move from home to home. He notes the new policy on CHWs has been revised to ensure close monitoring and evaluation and that these will be paid depending on the output of their work.
Prof. Francis Omaswa, the Executive Director for African Centre for Global Health and Social Transformation (ACHEST), however, warns the government against introducing a policy that they are not willing to fund. He adds that government should focus on comprehensively training the CHWs.
He notes that VHTs strategy has failed because there was no clear funding source and no close monitoring. He adds that the strategy should be clear with the evaluation and monitoring.