Community Health Workers In Rural South African Households

Community Health Workers In Rural South African Households

The rural faction of South Africa does not promise the best healthcare facilities or accessibility to the public. It takes almost 25 km of traveling to get access to reliable medical treatment. 

The idea of building more hospitals in rural areas is not practical considering the population of such areas. Only about 60 per cent of the hospital services will be utilized. As the population increases, the demand for the emigration of educated healthcare workers also contributes to the lack of availability of efficient medical staff in rural hospitals. The ratio of physicians to patients in rural areas has a huge variation when compared to urban centers. 

Community Health Workers

In such a circumstance, the only way to acquire medical assistance is through Community Health Workers. What are CHWs? They are medically trained associates of a community who can provide healthcare facilities more effectively for the locals through shared cultures and languages. 

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Image source: Bhekisisa

The objective of CHWs is to improve the health of the rural population at large by relocating themselves as community workers rather than professionals. In areas like Sub-Saharan Africa, which consist of the illest population with less medical care attainability, such a community working system helps a lot. 

Duties of CHWs 

  • Linking or providing resources for treatment.

Earlier, the major responsibility of the community healthcare staff was to connect

people to resources, medicines and medical services as it was difficult for them to physically reach every household on foot.

At present, CHWs make use of mobility services like scooters obtained through microfinancing loans to avail their services to patients directly. This enables amplifying the relationship between the rural patients and the pharmaceutical aid provided by CHWs despite the distance and cost. 

  • Distribution of medicines.

As mentioned before, it is hard to walk and reach every patient in a particular region. But at the same time, direct and physical service is in high demand due to doubt about its authenticity. Thus, the distribution of medicines using mobility facilities will serve the purpose of the organization.

This also allows CHWs to gather raw analysis of the review of medical aid and contribute it to health research as they have a close association with the local patients. 

  • Offering regular care for chronic illness

With the difficulty of traveling quite a lot of distance, patients with chronic disorders will not be able to seek help. Taking the situation into consideration, CHWs should use travel provisions to make regular treatments and checkups available for patients who are otherwise unaware of the details of the disease and its treatment.

  • To establish a strong linkage

The system of healthcare supply and its receipt is based on the element of trust, chiefly in rural areas. By making regular visits and checking on the patients, confidence can be attained. A well-grounded and dependable assistance decides the future of Community Health Workers. The aim is to make patients comfortable and familiar with the healthcare personnel.

Healthcare always stands significant in any economy. Extending its service to the grassroots level decides the efficiency of the medical system of a country. That is where Community Health Workers play an advantageous role. The hope for its aid is increasing in the coming years as a beneficial outcome is observed at the moment.

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