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5,000 CHWs To Be Included In National Budget

At least 5,000 Community Health Workers (CHWs) working in the counties as volunteers are expected to be included in the national budget, if the Coalition For Democratic Change (CDC) regime is retained for the next 6 years, following the Tuesday, October 10 polls.

Many of these people are already working inside the system but are not yet formally employed. As such, a formal employment is needed through replacement for those who have retired, traveled out of the country, died on the job, or become incapacitated, as well as resigned or sought another job elsewhere, whether in the private or another public sector.

But no employment can be done by government without the Civil Service Agency (CSA) or Commission’s involvement, because that is the Arm of the State solely responsible for the employment of public servants, besides presidential appointees who are not servants.

However, Vice President, Jewel Howard-Taylor, told the state-owned broadcaster (ELBC) yesterday, which was widely aired across the country, that there is pressure being exerted on government to have these people employed, because they are with the sector, having been trained for years and serving as volunteers.

She said when those in the above mentioned number are employed, it will reduce stress on doctors and nurses, because they are the bridge between the health ministry and various public health facilities, including hospitals and clinics in the counties.

Howard-Taylor, addressing a wide range of national issues, said those health workers are important to the sector, therefore, including them in the national budget or the payroll is overdue.

She noted that the health sector is one of the important areas in which government continues to invest, because with good health, people would be better placed to fend for themselves, therefore health is wealth.

The Vice President made mention of the ongoing construction of various new hospitals, and the improvement of the old ones across the country by the government, with Bong, Nimba, Grand Gedeh, Rivercess, Grand Bassa, Cape Mount, Lofa, Bomi, and Gbarpolu counties as some of the beneficiaries.

“We have these health projects in motion and we need people to work in them. At the moment, there are 16 medical doctors abroad specializing in various fields. When they return, they shall be added to the already over 2,000 full medical doctors and scores of nurses who are in the national budget. We are trying our best to surpass what we inherited in 2018,” she recalled.

She indicated that there are now some 5,000 community health workers across the country in the 15 counties, quoting data shared by Health Ministry on Thursday, April 7, 2022. But what is role of the community health nurse service in the country?

According to the report, they visit dozens of patients daily; screen them for various diseases, including HIV, tuberculosis, and leprosy; and refer and often accompany at-risk and symptomatic patients to the hospital.

About challenges of the health care service, the system lacks infrastructure, adequate disease surveillance, and data processing to identify initial cases. In addition, most laboratories have poor diagnostic facilities with a limited number of skilled staff.

The most common health issues include physical activity and nutrition, obesity, tobacco and substance abuse, HIV/AIDS, mental health, injury and violence and environmental quality.

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