ONAKAMWANDI – Minister of Health and Social Services Bernard Haufiku says the ministry is negotiating with development partners to find means to employ the more than 600 unemployed community health workers.
The ministry has trained more than 1000 community health workers, however, soon after the training, there was a reduction in the budget leaving the majority without jobs. Haufiku says the community health workers are very important because they are the first soldiers in creating awareness and fighting diseases in the community. “We have not forgotten about them, they are our first line of defence in our health system, it is only the budget that we are working around to see to it that we employ this 600 health workers,” Haufiku says.
The minister revealed this at the handover of the Community-Based Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) at Onakamwandi, stressing that community health problems can only be solved by community health workers and not by specialists and doctors.
He also used the opportunity to lobby for support to have the Bill which empowers the ministry to deploy nurses and doctors at hospitals and clinics where there is an accrued need unlike now when nurses and doctors apply to work at institutions of preference. He says the current situation is dragging the health sector back in achieving its goals as many hospitals in the far remote areas are without doctors. At the same time, the minister says a directive was issued to prevent nurses from using cellphones when on duty.
The minister also points out that no clinic or hospital will be closed during lunch. A directive has also been issued to ensure that the nurses go on rotational lunch to ensure that there is always someone to assist the patients.
“The directive has already been given to the permanent secretary. Such directives should be implemented. What are we still waiting for,” Haufiku questions.