Community Health Care workers during COVID-19

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By Dorothy Mabelebele

Community Health Care Workers (CHWs) plays an important part in the delivering of health care services to communities. CHWs have been crucial in health care system through various programmes including testing and preventing HIV and TB, treatment adherence as well a health promotion.

Sisanda Kulima, a CHW from an informal settlement called Lawley Clinic in Johannesburg, Gauteng has been a CHW for more than 10 years in which she participated in fighting for CHWs rights that were violated by the Department of Health. The Department of Health has been running around with the issues of making the CHWs permanent. Meanwhile CHWs are earning a stipend of R3,500 which Kulima said it is not enough for them because they risks their lives, visiting ill people in the communities daily without enough protection from any diseases.

The Department of Health announced that CHWs will be assisting in tracking and tracing COVID-19 cases but they didn’t give assurance of safety to these workers. It is unclear how the department is going to protect the CHWs in a situation with the shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE). “We have started with the screening for COVID-19 on 15 April 2020 at Fine Town in Johannesburg”, said Kulima.

There is a Petition making rounds on the social media about the Community Health Workers who are on the frontline who must be permanently employed and the petition was created by Change.org
Follow the link to sign the petition: http://chng.it/Dpz9wy9B