Min. Lawrence plugs community-centred healthcare delivery

Minister of Public Health, Ms Volda Lawrence

–says training of staff to deliver services in respective communities viable

THE Ministry of Public Health now boasts of a new approach taken when training staff members in various areas in the health sector. This will ensure there is an effective health sector and efficient workforce.

Minister of Public Health, Hon. Volda Lawrence made this disclosure during National Communications Network’s (NCN) ‘Context’ programme which is scheduled for airing at a later date.

According to the Public Health Minister, this is a ‘regional approach’ to guaranteeing adequate and competent human resources are provided at all health facilities throughout the country.

More specifically, she said staff (whether Community Health Workers, Pharmacy Assistants, Technicians) are trained and placed within their respective communities to deliver services. This has proven to be beneficial in many areas.

This approach of harnessing human resources within respective communities also caters to a specific need; for example, a hinterland community may require a health worker that is familiar with the terrain and other logistics within the village boundaries, the minister explained.

“By training persons within the region, there is so much more than you can gain. One, they know the people, they know when somebody is not attending the clinic, they know when somebody should be accessing services and is not doing so; there is that connectivity,” Minister Lawrence explained.

This approach embraces the existence in many varieties of population, backgrounds, lifestyle patterns and choices and allows for more targeted interventions. The minister added that this is part of the Ministry of Public Health’s vision of ensuring “everyone, everywhere has access to health services.”

Minister Lawrence also highlighted the disadvantage of deploying persons to work in areas away from home as it may affect work performance.
“We believe that we will be able to cross several barriers; language barriers, cultural barriers and also that apathy that steps in from time to time when you send persons from the coast into the hinterland; when they go it’s new so they are excited but after a while they miss home.”

She reminded that the His Excellency, President David Granger had delivered a policy directive to the ministry. This directive is to ensure that no one should have to travel more than five kilometres for healthcare regardless of their location, ethnicity, religious persuasion or class.

This approach has already taken effect in several hinterland areas. For Regions 1 and 9 in particular, persons from villages are undergoing training to become Community Health Workers (CHWs). Following the training, they are expected to return to their villages to render health services in their respective communities. (DPI)

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