Batch of 38 to be trained as Community Health Workers in Reg.10
A group of 38 young people were on Saturday granted the opportunity to become Community Health Workers (CHWs) for Region Ten.
The students were selected from a pool of more than 200 applications, and will be trained in the basics of medical care over a period of six months.
This is the first time the CHW programme is being hosted in Region Ten.
Minister of Health, Dr Frank Anthony, delivered the feature address at the opening ceremony, which was held at the Bamia Health Centre, in Bamia, Linden.
While the CHW programme is not a new one, Dr. Anthony explained that previous iterations saw persons trained at a centre in Mabaruma, with selected persons being brought there to be trained.
However, it quickly became obvious that it would be more practical to do the requisite training within the regions from which persons were selected.
“So, we have started this process of decentralising, making sure that in every region where there’s a need, that we can get persons who are interested in the programme, and train them right in the region. We are doing that for a number of reasons.
“One is that we feel that if we select people from the region to be trained to work in the region, that we will have a larger amount of retention. In the past when we have trained people from one place, and then you have to send them other places to work, most times they don’t want to go there. So, moving people around has become very problematic. So, we thought it’s important to take people from the region, train them, and let them come back to work in the region, and that would work for everybody,” he expressed.
The health minister stated that although training programmes are being conducted across the country, Guyana still has many gaps to fill even as the health sector continues to grow on a large scale.
These include nurses, assistant nurses, pharmacists, pharmacy assistants, and laboratory technicians.
As such, the ministry made the decision to decentralise many of its existing training programmes and train persons within the regions to fill those gaps.
“It’s easier to move a few people from Georgetown to come to Georgetown to [conduct] the training, rather than to move 35 people from Linden to Georgetown to do the training,” the minister reasoned.
He further noted that major changes will be made to the way the ministry implements its training programmes, as the telemedicine practice picks up steam in the interior regions.
“We put this system in last year, and already we flew out at least three persons. Because when the doctor had the consultations with the Community Health Worker and the patient, we realised that this person needed to have a medical evaluation as soon as possible. So, we sent in a plane, we brought them out, the doctors in Georgetown operated on them, and they were good to go. Before, those persons would have died. And that is how technology can help us to upgrade the quality of the services that we are providing,” Minister Anthony stressed.
He said, therefore, that during the course of the training, Community Health Workers will need to be exposed to telemedicine training, so that it can be adopted across many communities, especially in remote areas.
Regional Health Officer, Dr. Gregory Harris encouraged the participants to put their best foot forward as they undertake the training.
“This training will help us to enhance the healthcare services, the high-quality care that we normally provide throughout this region. You, the students, are part of the region’s history, being the very first batch of participants to undertake this training programme in the region. We have placed your training into the capable hands of personnel that have been in their specific fields long enough to truly allow you to grasp enough that you will be able to understand each concept over the duration of your training. I therefore challenge each and every one of you to be enthusiastic, and most importantly, to be focused on the goal, which is to become an efficient community health worker,” he said.
Deputy Director of Training, Chandroutie Persaud, noted that the region is well prepared for the students to begin their training and subsequent employment, and encouraged them to give their best.
Upon completion, participants will be contractually obligated to work within the region at a starting salary of around $100,000.
They will also be given the option to enter other health programmes and continue to upskill, with the aim of becoming nurses, doctors, and specialists in the medical field.
Participants from the programme hail from communities including Wismar, Amelia’s Ward, Wisroc, and a number of riverine communities. The training will be conducted at the Bamia Health Centre.