Pretoria: The Gauteng Department of Health says it has started a process to implement urgent interventions to strengthen and prevent further disruptions of the Community Health Workers programme (CHWs) in the province.
This follows regular protests by CHWs and service delivery interruptions due to inadequate coordination and monitoring of the programme.
Department spokesperson Simon Zwane says the programme will be strengthened through the implementation of a plan aimed at re-organization of the community outreach services in the province.
“Contracts of Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) will be extended until the end of the current financial year. Community Health Workers will be registered, verified and paid directly by the department as suppliers from October this year.
“They will sign individual contracts with the department and will continue with the same duties,” said Zwane.
In the meantime, he said, the CHW’s will be paid through the NGOs until they have been all registered and verified.
“We expect them to cooperate with the department until this process is fully in place.”
The Department will also integrate CHWs from all programmes into ward-based outreach teams (WBOT) as outlined in the Community Care worker policy, where they will be supervised by teams of nurse leaders and linked to health facilities.
Zwane says the community health care workers will be expected to report daily to the NGOs for programme monitoring and support and provide monthly reports to the provincial office as a means of verification for payments.
Districts, for their part will receive monthly reports from NGOs, conduct NGO performance monitoring review meetings, including collation of all programme reports. They will further conduct physical verification of all CHWs.
CHWs are responsible for providing various health services at community level.
These include among others encouraging healthy lifestyles, providing health promotion and prevention programmes, education on health related matters, following patients up for referrals and tracing of patients on treatment.