During our time in Zambia at the end of 2019 we were impressed to see the trained Community Health Workers in action in their villages. Not only assisting in our mobile clinics but in between identifying sick patients and referring to the Rural Health Clinics, diagnosing patients with potential malaria and HIV, following up child with malnutrition and those needing further dressings eg after burns. They are a great resource providing regular health education to their communities with respect to clean water, contraception, malaria prevention for example.
Tell me about the Community Health Workers
The 15 trainee Community Health Workers have developed greatly over the year by not only attending the On Call Africa clinics with the volunteer Doctors and the training weeks in Livingstone but also working closely with the nurses in the Rural Health Clinics. The have learnt how to take a detailed history , perform some basic examinations, such as BP and temperature taking, and carry out tests e.g. HIV, malaria, pregnancy and urine analysis.
During the training weeks they have gently been led out of their comfort zone of gaining knowledge from lectures to embracing learning in small groups with role playing. They demonstrated that they were able not only to discuss clinical scenarios but also more difficult topics such as child abuse and marital rape.
What was the highlight of your training?
The highlight of training for us was during a clinic based at Chalimongela clinic in the Mapatazia district. All 7 Community Health Workers, who had keenly attended all the clinics in other locations during the week, had their own consulting table and were able to assess patients solo. As well as perform the relevant tests leaving the 3 OCA Drs to move between them and discuss management plans and offer treatment plans. We were very proud trainers indeed!
I wish all of them the best for their finals in June and am confident that they will do very well and continue to serve their communities.
How has On Call Africa supported Community Health Workers?
It is indeed an exciting time for training with the new villages coming on board and so a large cohort of new Community Health Workers need to be identified and trained. I personally feel that On Call Africa has a great model of classroom and practical teaching to continue to do this successfully.”
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