15,000 recruits left jobless as government cancels new health extension workers policy

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Cabinet has rescinded the Community Health Extension Workers (CHEWS) policy barely two weeks after the policy was passed.

According to cabinet there are several human resource gaps that need to be addressed before another batch of health workers can be recruited in the sector.

The policy had been passed on 14th January 2019, only for it to be recalled a few days later.

A source that preferred anonymity told the Nile Post that the policy had led to the recruitment of 15,000 people. All recruits had to have studied up to senior four level at least.

The team of 15,000 was to spearhead campaigns to intensify efforts on prevention of communicable and non-communicable diseases.

According to the ministry, the recruits were to be equipped to identify sick people, conduct home visits and community outreach services, such as carrying out routine immunizations, HIV counselling and testing among others.

This meant upgrading from the village health teams who were less qualified to community health workers, who have graduated from senior four able to read and write and also understand basic health conditions.

A source from cabinet however intimated that cabinet had argued that that even the existing Community Development Officers, the health assistants at district levels could handle this.

Dr Michael Bukenya, the chairperson health committee of parliament, however debates that while the existence of CHEWS was stressing to the financial bag of government, elected LCS and CDO may not be equipped to handle the work the CHEWS were to do.

The commissioner Child Health Dr Jessica Nsungwa had earlier intimated that a plan had been laid by December 2018 to have all the recruits attain training in Kyankwanzi for six months before they are deployed to work. Cabinet had earlier resolved that these recruits get a monthly stipend of 370,000 Uganda shillings a month with the requisite O-Level qualifications will be upgraded to CHEWS.

No formal communication has been released by the ministry of health on the fate of over 15,000 people that had been recruited for the jobs.

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