Community health worker's perceptions on the training services offered by Masikhulisane : a case study of Inanda, Ntuzuma and KwaMashu in eThekwini Municipality in KwaZulu-Natal
Sosibo, Dumisani Patrick
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Access to medical care remains a challenge worldwide. It is particularly severe in developing countries and it is estimated that one million more health care workers are needed in Africa to meet the health related Millennium Development Goals. Though many countries have made significant strides in improving health service delivery by increasing their spending on health care, many health systems remain weak. The situation is no different in South Africa. Community health workers (CHW’s) are thought to be an answer to improving health care delivery. They can be trained to do specialized tasks, such as providing sexually transmitted disease counselling, directly observed therapy and act as birth attendants. Others work on specific programmes performing limited medical evaluations and treatment. With proper training, monitoring, supervision and support, CHW’s have shown to be able to achieve outcomes in terms of health care service delivery. The researcher undertook this study to investigate the perceptions of CHW’s on the training services offered by Masikhulisane (MK). A case study of Inanda, Ntuzuma and KwaMashu (INK) used a mix method approach to determine the perceptions of community health workers on the training services offered by Masikhulisane. The researcher distributed questionnaires to six groups of CHW’s in the INK area at different venues. The findings of the study are useful in making evidence-based improvements in the MK education programme that targets various sectors, including CHW’s. From the findings of this study, it was concluded that CHW’s can make a valuable contribution to improved access and coverage of communities with basic health services. It is recommended that the Masikhulisane training programme should be accredited, the Masikhulisane sectoral approach should be broadened to reach more sectors not reached before and the training content should be revisited to ensure acceptability and appropriateness for targeted sectors.