18 Apr 2015 10:50am
KEETMANSHOOP, 18 APR (NAMPA) The first-ever intake of 94 Health Extension Workers (HEWs) graduated after six months of training in Keetmanshoop on Friday.
Officiating at the event, acting health director for the //Karas Health Directorate, Job Ndile described the HEWs as a vital link between communities and health centres.
The chief roles of the HEWs are to identify health problems in communities through house-to-house visits, to do referrals and to report back to clinics.
The programme is facilitated by senior nurses in the Ministry of Health and Social Services (MoHSS) throughout the country and has so far seen a number of HEWs graduate in other parts of the country.
Speaking at the event, //Karas governor, Lucia Basson urged the graduates to extend their health focus to poverty and hygiene in addition to other identified diseases such as Tuberculosis and HIV.
Get to know your communities and work on how you approach them on matters such as hygiene and self-care, she advised.
She also took the opportunity to announce that she will work as a grassroots governor and called on collective responsibility and support to help change the face of the region, and to put some of the riches of the area into the hands of the inhabitants. The South is rich in natural resources such as fish, diamonds, and other precious stones.
//Karas Regional Council chairperson, Jan Scholtz informed the graduates that the certificate obtained was only the first step into their future.
You have the qualification now but there is no free lunch; you have to work hard, work smart, not procrastinate, and always be willing to go the extra mile, he said.
To illustrate his point, Scholtz used an analogy of the futility of a beautiful ship docked in the harbour.
If the ship does not go out into the sea to return with fish, it is of no use, he mused.
Doctor Ndile told the health assistants that employment was not automatically guaranteed for them.
Just like in any profession, you have to apply for work and give it your best, he said.
It is understood that following Governments approval of their employment, HEW positions will be created in the near future to help streamline healthcare in the country.
The MoHSS adapted the Health Extension Programme (HEP) from Ethiopia before introducing it in Namibia some five years ago.