Since Community Healthcare Workers (CHWs) in Gauteng were made permanent employees by the Department of Health, different things have been added to their scope of work. One of those things is that CHWs now use Ntirhisano Community Outreach Programme model to help community members log complaints regarding social and service delivery issues. This is because CHWs are the ones who visit households and witness first hand people’s grievances. Some of the clinics in Gauteng which have started using this service include Phenduka, J Dumane and Villa Liza Clinic.
Ntirhisano Outreach Programme was launched in 2016 by Gauteng Premier David Makhura as a collaborative platform that aims to “improve government’s service delivery and build an activist public service that is responsive to the needs of the people”.
CHWs are now trained by their Outreach Team Leaders (OTLs) on how to use this service using the digital equipment (phones and tablets) that they use for their daily work. This model does not require data or airtime to use so even those who are unemployed should be able to use it.
CHWs help members of the community log the complaints, but the follow up of the cases they help log are out of their scope. The reference number, with a contact number provided for follow ups, is sent by sms to the community member/s who the CHW helped logged the complaint.
The reporting of social and service delivery issues affecting people’s health has always been a challenge for CHWs. In the past, they would refer patients to different departments but then would find that this person does not have money to go there or the departments do not respond. Hopefully this service will take the load off CHWs in terms of enabling the community to do follow ups of their cases. CHWs are hoping that this service will be effective and change people’s lives for the better.
This article was submitted on 10 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.