Possible changes to admission requirements for CHW programme -to help indigenous applicants
DPI, Guyana, Wednesday, January 17, 2018
Deputy Chief Medical Officer (DCMO) of the Ministry of Health Dr. Karen Gordon-Boyle said there could be some changes to the admission requirements for persons desirous of participating in training for Community Health Workers (CHW), particularly those from hinterland communities.
Dr. Gordon-Boyle was part of the medical and technical team who accompanied Minister of Public Health Volda Lawrence last Sunday to the communities of Paramakatoi and Kato in Region Eight (Potaro-Siparuni). She made the remarks while addressing residents of Kato.
According to the DCMO, the Ministry’s Department of Health Science has a requirement of Mathematics, English and one other subject for admission into the CHW program. However, she noted that the practice of “Affirmative Action” – a policy of favouring members of a disadvantaged group who suffer or have suffered from discrimination within a culture – could be extended to the indigenous communities.
“We know that access to quality education in a place like Paramakatoi or Kato, may not be the same as in Region Four. Your chances of getting good grades may not be the same. We may want to factor things like that in when we are considering admission. Whether it means changing the admission criteria or working with you with some remedial programmes to bring you up to the level where you can be admitted.”
She added, if the government is serious about improving access to training in the region, this is an approach that can be taken.
In the same vein, Dr. Gordon-Boyle reiterated government’s commitment to the equal distribution of health services to persons in all regions.
“We recognise that the cost of health delivery, when it comes to Region Eight, is not the same as Region Four, it costs a lot more. But we are prepared to mobilise those resources so that the people could get the service they need, where they need it.”
She said it is obvious that that is not the case, as residents of far-flung areas are not receiving the best medical care. However, it remains a work in progress. She said the initiatives being undertaken by the government include training in the community. That, she said, will allow residents to be the caretakers of their own people.
“There is no one that will be more passionate about the health of your people, than your people, so that is one of the initiatives we have…One of the things you can start thinking about is the young people and careers in health. instead of us bringing persons from Region Four to work in your community, it is better if your own people are trained as Community Health Workers (CHW), Pharmacy Assistants, nurse-aids. They can even go on to careers in nursing or as pharmacists,” she said.
Dr. Gordon-Boyle also called on residents to be more involved in their community.
By: Alexis Rodney
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