Department of Health settles back payments and salaries of Community Health Care Workers
As part of ongoing efforts to ensure that Gauteng residents receive quality health care, the Gauteng Department of Health has paid over R7 million to more than 1000 Community Health Care Workers (CHW) in back payments to date, revealed MEC for Health, Dr Gwen Ramokgopa on Tuesday.
Total number of 1332 CHWs have been paid R7,8 million through a Service Provider, Smart Purse Solutions (Pty) Ltd which was appointed following a competitive bidding process, said Dr Ramokgopa.
The claims for CHWs stipends are received monthly from the districts and paid to individual CHWs by the Department through the service provider as per Service Level Agreement.
The Department experienced delays in payment as well as back-payments to CHWs due to verifications and validation processes of CHWs who claim to have worked and were unpaid. This process requires facility based assessments against available body of evidence per district for work done at facilities by each individual CHW.
To speed up the process of payment and to ensure that each CHW is paid what is due to them, the Department verified CHWs who were slow to register but claimed to have continued working at facilities. Those found to have indeed worked and were unpaid, have been contracted and back-paid, currently 8960 CHWs are paid by Smart purse, said MEC Ramokgopa.
The CHWs are responsible for community, household and individual health assessments and identification of health needs and risks (actual and potential) and facilitate for families or individuals to seek the appropriate health care.
These healthcare workers refer patients for further assessment and testing after performing simple basic screening. The CHWs are trained to provide limited, simple health interventions in a household such as basic first aid and oral rehydration.They also provide psycho-social support and manage interventions such as treatment defaulter tracing and adherence support, added MEC Ramokgopa.
The Labour Court handed down a judgement on 18 March 2016 where it ordered that CHWs were employees of the Department on a ‘fixed term contract expiring on the 31 March 2016’. The CHWs contracts were renewed by the Department for one month only, of April 2016. As from May 2016 to date, CHWs have been contracted with Smart Purse Solutions (Pty) Ltd, said MEC Ramokgopa.
Furthermore, the National Department of Health has been in consultations with provinces and different stakeholders in the development of a policy framework for the Community Health Worker Programme. This policy framework intends to clarify and standardise employment conditions of CHWs across all provinces in the country.
Kempton Park hospital
MEC Ramokgopa further disclosed that the old Kempton Park hospital will be demolished and the construction of the new facility is planned to start in the 2019/2020 financial year. Currently, a fence has been installed and grass has been cut at the facility. The maintenance of the site has been handed over to the Gauteng Department of Infrastructure Development.
Source: Government of South Africa