Community Health Worker Program strengthened
The Community Health Worker program in Fiji has been further strengthened today by the development of two training manuals and a Community Health Worker (CHW) policy. This was revealed by the Hon. Minister for Health & Medical Services Mr Jone Usamate.
The policy, developed for Community Health Workers, will provide structure, systems and processes that are vital in bridging social and economic gaps in community settings.
The module training manuals will be used by officers at the primary health care level to train CHWs.
Mr Usamate said, “The program was initially set up to address the shortage of health professionals, but now plays a crucial role in broadening access to other services including health services in remote and hard to reach areas”.
“Their inclusion in the health system has evidently led to improved health outcomes, especially in the area of child health”.
Community Health Workers are an important link between the formal health system and the community. They are members of communities who are chosen by their leadership or organization to promote wellness, healthy practices and health seeking behaviors.
The Health Ministry is committed to the CHW program which is also supported by the Fiji Health Sector Support Program. Development has been progressive in areas such as core competency, safe motherhood, child health and wellness.
Mr Usamate also said that the role of CHWs is vital to address health priorities for Fiji, which include non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and climate change.
“It is vital to address these issues at community level. Therefore, it is important that they are given the recognition as instruments of change and provided the support to share their knowledge and skills in the community”, Mr Usamate added.