ZANZIBAR: ZANZIBAR has officially recognised the Community Health Workers (CHWs) who have been volunteering for the past three years in the provision of services, particularly to pregnant mothers in times of emergencies.
After formalising them as Community Health Volunteer (CHVs), but globally known as CHWs, they will be en – titled for further training and monthly allowance.
The official recognition ceremony was held at the Maisara grounds where President Hussein Ali Mwinyi said that the move will make them known to the public and use them in case of health emergencies.
He said that the CHWs also back the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) promoted by the World Health Organisation (WHO) that ‘No one should be left behind’ and also helps in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“We look forward to being a leading country in the region, and probably in the world with regard to implmentation of UHC by ensuring people get access to the best health services through digitalisation. Let all people and public servants involved show commitment in the endeaour,” Dr Mwinyi explained.
He informed the gathering including development partners that formalising the CHWs or CHVs is a major development in strengthening health services in the community and that the government is proud of the achievement, a role model for other countries to learn.
President Mwinyi praised the great work done by the workers at the grassroots level in the community, especially in sensitising the public on health issues.
“I believe if we develop these services at the community level, we will be very successful in providing quality health services because this is the first area of service delivery. We must direct more efforts to the villages or grassroots and move up to upper levels of groups,” he explained.
In addition to monthly allowance, Dr Mwinyi announced that the Tigo – Zantel will provide three thousand smartphones to the CHVs and their supervisors, assuring that the government will continue improving infrastructure and purchase of modern medical equipment for health facilities.
Zanzibar Minister for Health Nassor Ahmed Mazrui said the national programme for CHWs dubbed “Let’s go together to help health workers at the community level towards access to proper health services for all,” aims to connect all areas to the Ministry of health.
Mazrui said that the Zanzibar CHWs/CHVs received basic training on how to report and handle health issues including emergencies such as Covid-19, cholera and measles and other outbreaks, “Our Universal Health Coverage (UHC) cannot succeed without the CHVs because our aim is not to leave anyone behind in accessing standard health care. We want the Zanzibar population to recognise them and provide cooperation,” he said.
Mr Mazrui thanked Dtree, USAID, and UNICEF for their support in establishing and training of the CHVs, and that after the formal recognition yesterday, they will be entitled to have more training. He said there are 2,300 CHVs so far working at the ratio of 1:1000, but the objective is to have 5000 CHVs to serve at the ratio of 1:500 or less by 2025, and that development partners are humbly requested to increase support to have strong team of CHWs.
The health minister urged the media to help spread the message about the CHVs in the archipelago promoting the health volunteer workers so that the community can listen to them.
“We ask expectant mothers to consider advice given by CHVs and give birth in hospital. We want all pregnant mothers to deliver in hospitals to minimise maternal mortality risks,” the minister said.