Health Surveillance Assistants (HSAs) have asked government to consider providing them with transportation to address the challenge of walking long distances during their daily operations in the communities they were assigned to work.
This was brought forward during media training on Primary Health Care (PHC) Finance and Advocacy at Mponera in Dowa on Friday under theme of “Media-The Magic Bullet in Primary Health Care Advocacy and Financing Towards Achieving Universal Health Coverage in Malawi” which was organized by White Ribbon Alliance Malawi.
Speaking during the training, Senior HSA Supervisor Henry Kalusa said as primary healthcare service providers they have a lot of challenges when it comes to moving from one place to another considering that most of them are working with community members who are in rural and hard to reach areas as such, they are failing to provide services accordingly due to the current situation.
Kalusa also pointed out lack of token of appreciation as another problem which is supposed to be considered as well because despite working tirelessly during the day and at night, they do not get the appreciation they are supposed to get as one way of motivating them.
“I have come with these points to this training taking advantage of the presence of our representatives from the Ministry of Health to please hear our humble request, we have a heart to work without disappointing anyone from where we work from. I know that as I have presented my problems to you an action will be taken. This is what we HSA’s need,” he explained.
One of the community members from Kalindang’oma in Dowa District, Catherine Mwale, asked the government to consider the health workers’ requests considering that they are very hard working and passionate about their work despite facing a lot of challenges.
Mwale said that HSAs are always available whenever the community members are in need of medical assistance during the day or at night and they help people to be alert of pandemics on time before it further spread.
On the plea for transportation, Deputy Director Preventive Health Services Responsible for Community in the Ministry of Health Doreen Ali said that government is working tirelessly to ensure that the HSAs are working in a conducive environment.
She added that the HSAs will be given the transportation they are looking for and that they’re planning to conduct training for the HSAs to deepen their knowledge.
Ali went on to say that government is upgrading the curriculum of the health workers so that they can have access to other opportunities.
“Our mission is to train community health workers very well and to ensure that quality, integrated community health services are affordable, culturally acceptable and accessible to every household through community participation to reduce deaths and the social-economic burden,” she said.
On his part , White Ribbon Alliance Malawi Communications and Advocacy Manager Newton Kaluwa said they want policy makers to reflect on the policies on primary health care so that there should be an improvement in the lives of people in living in the communities.
He added that although there is an improvement from the policymakers, they want more from them and also to ensure that there are also funds allocation in the health sector.
Health Surveillance Assistants (HSAs) are grassroot healthcare providers in Malawi. They spearhead provision of community essential health package (c-EHP). Malawi decided to increase the number of HSAs to cater for 1000 population per HSA.
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