By Tione Andsen – Mana.
Government has said Community Health Structures needs to be strengthened in order to improve the delivery of quality health service amid Covid-19 in the country.
Deputy Director for community Health in Ministry of Health, Doreen Ali said this Tuesday during the launch of strengthening of Community Health Structures in response to Covid 19 by World Vision Malawi (WVM) at Kambola Village in the area of Traditional Authority (TA) Vuso Jere in Ntchisi.
She said the Ministry Community Health Strategy called for the establishment of Community Health Action Groups (CHAGs) to help Health Surveillance Assistants (HSAs) in delivering quality health services.
“We have 48,000 villages where CHAGs are formed and they need to be trained in order to lessen the burden HSAs have in their working areas,” Ali revealed.
She said with the Covid-19 taking toll in the country, HSAs have an additional work to do and CHAGs could come in to compliment their efforts.
“We believe the CHAGs have an important role to play in providing relevant messages to their communities in measures to take in order to curb the further spread of the Corona virus in their respective areas,” the Deputy Director viewed.
Ali disclosed that the Ministry wants to recruit additional 7,000 HSAs to compliment the current 10,000 in order to serve hard to reach areas.
She said plans are under way to establish burial committees where they could be trained in handling Covid-19 related deaths.
“With the current state health workers are bound to be stretched and they cannot be able to handle all Covid-19 burials and this is why we thought of engaging other stakeholders to join in,” Ali pointed out.
WVM National Director Hazel Nyathi admitted that Covid-19 has affected the livelihoods of many communities.
She said the disease has affected rich and poor countries and most of development and health delivery services have largely been affected.
“Covid-19 is real and we need not to take chances. We have seen prominent people in our society dying and we need to strictly follow Covid-19 measures in order to contain the spread of the virus.
Nyathi said WVM has engaged 481 HSAs in the programme in Kalira Area Programme (AP) and have been instrumental in the forming of CHAGs.
The National Director said She was impressed with CHAGs were doing and was hoping that they would continue working to the betterment of the communities in face of Covid-19 pandemic.
Village head Kambola thanked WVM for supporting his area in promoting hygiene and sanitation, food security, early childhood development and capacity building.
He said communities mind sets have greatly improved which have enabled to identify their problems and come up with local solution first before seek external help.