On Wednesday, 16 September 2020, Community Healthcare Workers (CHWs) from different clinics in the Westrand of Johannesburg were called to do screenings for COVID-19 and other illnesses affecting communities in the Westrand. On the same day, CHWs from Bekkersdal, Simunye, Westonaria and Zuurbekom clinics also gathered in Borwa, a township in the Westrand to do door to door screenings. The campaign took place for two days in Borwa, before it moved to Bekkersdal.
For five days, from 18 September 2020 to 22 September 2020, CHWs were not offered water to drink, toilets to use or food to eat. Organisers have to think for the CHWs, working in different places without enough personal protective equipment (PPE) is dangerous. Also, working on an empty stomach is a challenge because some CHWs are older and others are on medication.
Now that CHWs are permanent it does not mean they are slaves, they know their rights. CHWs are providing a very good service to the community, and even got recognition from the President for their work. Campaign work without food and sanitation centres is punishment for CHWs.
As the campaign continued at Simunye Clinic on Wednesday, 30 September 2020, CHWs were frustrated from working door-to-door without any PPEs and food. The short notice deployment was very hard because the community sometimes refuses to open their doors. The community also panics when they see mass numbers of CHWs approaching wearing plastic aprons.
These kind of campaigns that are not planned are worrying. Campaigns have to be planned and organised in a formal way, or else CHWs are going to suffer from the same issue in the future.
This article was submitted on 30 September 2020. You may republish this article, so long as you credit the authors and Karibu! Online (www.Karibu.org.za), and do not change the text. Please include a link back to the original article.