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People's Health Movement-Uganda, in collaboration with the Human Rights Research Documentation Centre, organized a training workshop in Kakoma-Birere, Isingiro District, western Uganda. The purpose was to enhance the skills of Community Health Workers (CHWs), identify barriers to healthcare access for patients, share experiences and knowledge on strengthening the bond between CHWs, frontline health workers, and the community. We also provided medicine supplies, health-related products, dental services, and legal aid.
What were the challenges?
During the workshop, several challenges affecting the health facility, health workers, and CHWs were identified. These included limited space for accommodating many admitted patients, inadequate human resources (with no dentist or ophthalmologist), low remuneration for frontline health workers, absence of compensation or motivation stipends for CHWs, facility electricity disconnection, lack of safe and piped water, and insufficient and inconsistent training for health practitioners and CHWs.
To address these challenges, we engaged with Local Council leaders and raised awareness on promoting the right to health, solidarity, and support for health services. We emphasized the importance of following up on service delivery and entrusting the health mandate to responsible individuals as we strive towards Universal Health Coverage.
Considering the significance of CHWs in our study and outreach, we recommend the following actions:
Integrate the WHO guidelines on CHWs into our national CHW policy.
Encourage relevant stakeholders to establish a distinct occupational identity for CHWs.
Incorporate CHW language into local and national healthcare reform legislation.
Involve CHWs in developing common definitions and recognized standards of core competencies for their practice.
Encourage employers and academic institutions to provide strong initial and ongoing education and capacity building for CHWs.
Support research efforts and funding to establish standardized norms for studies related to CHWs.
By implementing these recommendations, we aim to enhance the effectiveness and impact of CHWs in promoting healthcare accessibility and improving health outcomes in underserved communities.