Health Ministry gets 36 more health workers
Community Health Workers (CHWs) may be regarded as the least among health workers in the public health system but their role in some cases may be the most crucial when it comes to saving lives.
This notion was emphasised by Minister within the Health Ministry, Dr Bheri Ramsaran, when he delivered the main remarks at last Friday’s graduation ceremony for the most recent batch of CHWs.
According to the Minister, while they may not be required to undertake intricate medical tasks, saving a life could be possible by ensuring that a pregnant mother visits the clinic before any possible complication develops.
The 36 individuals represented the 2009-2010 graduating batch of CHWs who will soon be dispatched to their respective regions across the country in the Ministry’s quest to expand the delivery of health care.
The CHW programme, like the Medex Programme, Dr Ramsaran said, is a special adaptation programme in countries like Guyana where there are resource-poor environments.
This simply means, the Minister explained, that efforts are made to train categories of workers who can deliver services of an accepted quality though they may not have been through the traditional means such as universities.
He noted that CHWs are expected to work under harsh conditions even as they take up the role of being the eyes and ears of the primary health care system.
However, Dr Ramsaran advised the graduates not to stop at the level of CHW but rather to aspire for professional progression. “It doesn’t stop here. Some of you have come from hard areas where you may not have been able to secure good academic grades…You are trainable; you have a good brain; now we are giving you the opportunity to develop it.”
He announced that this was the second batch of CHWs to have undergone six months of rigorous training due to the success rate that has been seen over the years. The programme was previously a four-month course.
Programme Co-ordinator, Ms Esmae Semple, highlighting the outstanding performance of the batch, said that of the five men and 31 women batch, 15 graduated with distinctions while 13 attained credits.
Giving the charge to the students, Director of Health Sciences Education, Mr Noel Holder, urged the graduates to maintain a high moral reputation even as they ensure that they operate at the best of their abilities. He emphasised the importance of building relationships and the need for them to work assiduously with the various factions of the community.
In doing so, he warned that the onus is also upon health care providers to treat with fairness and respect those within the community who may be of varying orientations.
“It is important that you respect the other person. If you cannot respect the other person why should you be a health worker if you are looking at someone as lesser than you are?” Holder passionately queried.
Communities, according to Holder, must be able to put their trust and confidence in health workers rather than be afraid to share with them. For this very reason, he said that the same level of monitoring that was evident at the level of training will be continued to ensure efficiency.
According to Best Graduating Student, 24-year-old, Tonika Moore, of Paradise, East Coast Demerara, while the course was a bit challenging for her, she was able to focus on the importance of the programme.
Inspired by her aunt to venture into the health field, Moore said that based on the training she and her colleagues gained over the six months of the course they are now adequately prepared to help boost the public health system.
“I know for sure that the skills that I have gained here I will put into practice to improve the health of others…I am confident that we are all ready and capable for whatever cases that will confront us.”