Community Healthcare Workers (CHWs) and OTLs (Outreach Team Leaders) were amazed to hear recently that they will now have to take money out of their own pockets to repair and replace the digital equipment that they were given to conduct their work. These gadgets in actual fact belong to the organisation that gave it to them for daily use, Aurum Institute. A representative from Aurum (a Non-Profit Organisation that was originally a subsidiary of AngloGold Ashanti Health Services) delivered the news to the CHWs.
Many CHWs in Gauteng have done away with manual registration of household members. In September 2019 many CHWs in Ekurhuleni were provided with Blackview phones by Aurum, though the tablets were not given to CHWs in all regions of Gauteng. The gadgets came with 1GB data and minutes every month as the CommCare app that CHWs have to use for work consumes data. This made their job a lot easier as the gadgets had everything they needed, including screening tools.
Previously, the Blackview phone repair and replacement costs were covered by Aurum. All CHWs had to do was inform their OTLs who would refer the matter to coordinators.
Now Aurum has been sending their reps to clinics to inform CHWs that it has run out of funds, and as a result the repair and replacement costs will be now be covered by the person in possession of the phones. The reps said the gadgets will be taken to Blackview for repairs or replacement and the invoice will be sent to CHWs, informing them of how much they will need to pay.
At one clinic, the payment plan for this was not discussed at all as the rep from Aurum did not have the necessary information. This made CHWs furious. They had lots of questions regarding the recent news as they thought that this was unfair to them. Some even asked if the gadgets will now belong to them, and if they must buy it, in case of theft. The Aurum rep had to write all the questions down and promised to come back to CHWs with answers as he did not have any for them.
This article was submitted on 26 May 2021 and first published in the Forum News May-June 2021 edition. 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.