Twenty-four Community Health Aides (CHAs) attached to the Hanover Health Department have been recognised for excellence in service delivery.
At a function held on the grounds of the Noel Holmes Hospital in Lucea on November 1, the CHAs were presented with certificates of appreciation, with Carolyn Cunningham Thompson, Cely Stewart and Jacqueline Rubie hailed as top achievers in the performance of their duties.
Speaking in an interview with JIS News, Senior Public Health Nurse, Marcia Lewis Grant, said that the CHAs are important partners in the delivery of primary healthcare.
She noted that through engagement with community members, they have helped to reduce barriers to quality healthcare.
“They are our hands and feet, they are our backbone, they are out in the community delivering service, getting information. They are very important persons to the public health nurses and the midwives. They know their community… and so the delivering of information and education is what they are there about,” Mrs. Grant emphasised.
Senior Public Health Nurse, Lauren Golding, described the CHAs as the “foot soldiers of the primary health system” who perform their functions with care and compassion.
“They have ensured that the basic tenets of primary healthcare [are met], that of accessibility, availability, community participation and decision-making. Without the Community Health Aides, we would not be able to complete our functions in primary healthcare,” she noted.
The function was the culmination of a series of activities to mark Community Health Aide Week, which began on October 26 under the theme ‘Community Health Aides, Moving Barriers to Achieve a Healthier Nation’.
To celebrate the week, CHAs organised a breakfast programme for their clients, engaged them in educational sessions as well as provided care packages for those in need.
The Community Health Aide programme was initiated in 1967 to assist in the delivery of basic healthcare in communities and health centres across the island.
They are responsible for assisting with the management of sick and aged residents in communities. They also conduct follow-up visits after persons have gone through the primary and secondary healthcare system.