Community health remains backbone of health system
By Tione Andsen
Lilongwe, November 7, Mana: AMREF Health Africa has viewed that community health remains the backbone of health system as it acts as the entry point into health care.
AMREF Health Africa, Project Officer, Benedict Chinsakaso said this Friday during the Community Health Ambassador for Malawi celebrations at Bingu International Convention Centre (BICC) in Lilongwe.
He said community health strictures such village health committees and health centre management committees alongside community health workers lay the foundation of our health system by being the first point of call on all health care matters.
“Most if not all community health workers operate in an environment that is challenging in terms of mobility, insufficient supplies and poor working conditions in general,” Chinsakaso noted.
He said community health workers have relentlessly and tireless been there to provide the much needed health care to the people in the community.
The Project Officer added that the need to invest in community health and ensure that it was organized and coordinated would not be over emphasized.
Chinsakaso disclosed that evidence suggest that Community Health Workers (CHWs) guarantees positive health outcomes, which are crucial to achieve Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3.
“There are some milestones that can be celebrated such as the recruitment of over 1,000 Health Surveillance Assistants (HSAs), the ongoing development of a 12 months training curriculum for HSA, establishment of community health structures in some districts,” he said.
Chinsakao called upon government that by 2022 all, 7,000 HSAs that are meant to be recruited are indeed recruited, that there is increased health budget allocation at least 10 percent of national health budgets to CHWs.
He said social accountability mechanisms to monitor performance of CHWs at community level and quality of health services have been put in place.
Minister of Health, Khumbize Chiponda said there was need to close the human resource gap by hiring approximately 10,000 additional HSAs as well as increasing numbers of assistant environmental health officers, community health nurses and community midwife assistants
She viewed the importance of health financing by improving integration, mobilization, efficiency and effectiveness of resources.
Chiponda said about 900 Health Posts should be constructed and support community health worker accommodations in hard-to-reach areas
Community Health Ambassador, Maziko Matemba said community health needs to be supported in order to help the health delivery systems.
He said there was need to improve the working condition of community health workers.
Matemba said 50 Motor cycles have been procure and would be distributed across the country.
“We need to empower community workers with more training, work opportunities and linking them with more partners working at community level. We have to improve the housing conditions of all communities’ workers,” he said.
AMREF handed over 1,000 copies guidelines for health centres management committee and community health action groups.