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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 following modules:

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 Anonymous.

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


What is the core business of a community health worker?

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 months They are sometimes trained for 10 days sometimes not trained
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 consultative policy They volunteer services
They are on contract or employed with a stipend constantly 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 Level 4 Their training is at the Level of NQF 1 – 2
They are sometimes supplied with working kits They are mostly supplied with HBC kits

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