In a report that they are yet to share with the Ministry, Dr. Micheal Bukenya who chairs the committee says they are proposing that they come with a small fee to facilitate the already existing personnel than embarking on training senior six leavers without a sustainability plan since with this group government is not sure for how long they can be kept as they are still young and have just joined the work world.
The health committee of parliament is proposing to the
Ministry of Finance to drop the idea of recruiting Community Health Extension
Workers (CHEWs), but rather strengthen the already existing Village Health Teams
In a report that they are yet to share with the Ministry,
Dr. Micheal Bukenya who chairs the committee says they are proposing that they
come with a small fee to facilitate the already existing personnel than
embarking on training senior six leavers.
In the budget proposals currently being discussed in parliament,
Shs3billion has been allocated to training of CHEWs but Bukenya says even as they are being
rolled out, there is no mechanism of replacing them in case they decide to
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He says that the fact that
government has banked so much on
donors to fund the CHEWS also shows how unsustainable and yet even if
VHTs are voluntary they have been around for a long while working.
However, at the annual health promotion conference last
year, Health Minister Jane Ruth Aceng said government was finalizing training for
the first batch of CHEWs and that they will be deployed in the new financial
year and the CHEWs were being touted as one of the strategies to help the
country achieve universal health coverage.
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The plan by government initially was to recruit 1500
CHEWs deploying two per parish in high disease burden areas of Northern and
However, at the conference, Aceng had said after completing
the documentation to establish the CHEWs, government was revisiting the process
to come up with new strategies on how to effectively have this cadre of health
workers in place without having to rely on donors for their facilitation and
also not stretching the wage bill.
Now, the Health Committee is proposing that government
retains VHTs but remunerate them copying from the Rwanda model where money is
collected through a SACCO. In an interview this morning, Bukenya said with this money,
a VHT will earn about Shs150,000. To him, this will not stretch government.