Community Health Workers
Who is a Community Health Worker (Unompilo)?
This is a member of community who has been selected in trust
by his/her community to enter their homes and assist them to
improve their health status. This is an extension of the Primary
Health Care, which reaches out to the people at household level.
Where are community health workers (CHW) found?
In the whole of KwaZulu-Natal, in rural and urban areas. There
are presently over 4000 Community Health Workers in the
province, and there is an additional 1000 new posts in the
financial year 2004/05. It is envisaged that there will be 1000
new posts each year to improve the coverage, as some areas do
not have Community Health Workers, yet they are in need.
What training does the CHW recieve?
A Community Health Worker is multiskilled in her/his training to
be able to manage problems in their field when rendering
services. The bases of training include among others, the
- Being a Community Health Worker
- Situational Analysis
- Environmental Health Care
- The District Health System
- Primary Health Care Concept
- Acute and Chronic Diseases and their management at home.
- T.B and DOTS
- Body systems
- HIV and AIDS including counselling and support
- Health Education and Promotion
- Maternal and Child Health
- Integrated management of childhood illnesses
- Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT)
- Infectious Diseases
- Community Development
The Community Health Workers receive in-service education on
a monthly basis on their aspects of health e.g. alcoholism and
drug abuse in communities, rendered by specialists e.g. Alcohol
Status Quo of Community Health Workers in KZN
There are 2 different categories of Community Health Workers at
present i.e. those employed prior to 1994 and those employed
after 1994 after the restructuring of Health Services.
- 4010 available and filled posts
- contracted to NGO’s as at the end of January 2005 - 2602
- Ex-kwaZulu Government CHW’s – 1519 posts available.
Criteria for selection
- Minimum for contracted is Grade 10 (standard 8), for
non-contracted is non specific and variable.
- Have a reside in the area of service
- Selected by the Local Community
- Undergoes training for multi-skilling x12 months
inclusive of practical.
- The selection process is guided and based on the
- Has job description , basic minimum conditions of
- Non-contracted were volunteers who underwent
multi-skilling training before 1994.
- No criteria were set for volunteers.
- By Community Based Supervisor for time sheet signing.
- By CHF for mentor and support on training
- By NGO’s for implementation after training
- Has a set of households to visit monthly
- Sport check and supervision by contracted NPO’s.
NB: This applies to contracted CHW’s and for non-contracted
CHW’s supervision excludes NGO’s.
What is the core business of a community health worker?
- Health Promotion and Education at household level.
- Refer to relevant Departments those needing to.
- Identify areas of potential danger or hazard ad report
to relevant departments.
- Initiate and support community based development
- Liaison between community and Department of Health
- Advocacy and Marketing for Department of Health at
- Community mobilization against diseases and ill health
through awareness campaigns, health promotional material,
word of mouth, role modelling, etc.
- Counselling, support, passionate caring, stress relief
- DOTS – directly supervised treatment support
- Home Based Care
- Screening of Health related cards for compliance or
- Assesses health status of all family members and give
- Weighs infants and babies and record in the Road to
- Provide PMTCT support at household level.
How do Community Health Workers Differ from Home Based Care Workers
|Community Health Worker
||Home Based Care Worker
|They are employed
||They are volunteers
|They are trained and multiskilled for 12
||They are sometimes trained for 10 days sometimes not
|They have a job description
||They sometime don’t have a job description if not
working under NGO’s
|They are allocated between 50 and 100
homestead to work in
||They may have or may not have a household allocated
|They have a selection process based on a
||They volunteer services
|They are on contract or employed with a
||Sometime on a stipend when employed
|They render comprehensive services
within their scope of practice
||They render home based care and other services based
on what they are trained in
|Their training curriculum is at NQF
||Their training is at the Level of NQF 1 – 2
|They are sometimes supplied with working
||They are mostly supplied with HBC kits
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