The Healthcare Services Delivery And National Health System Essay

The Healthcare Services Delivery And National Health System Essay

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The shortage of human health resource in particular high-skilled health workers becomes a common problem observed in many countries particularly in which with resource-constraint settings. The situation affects the healthcare service delivery and national health system function given both health workforce and health service delivery are vital fundamental blocks in national health system. The community health workers (CHWs) have been recognised to be one of alternatives in tackling the problem of scarce human resources in healthcare and this strategy has been implemented in many countries since several decades ago. However, the important roles of CHWs are often taken for granted without realising their involvement in the advancement of population-wide health outcome and equity. This essay will describe the role of CHWs in health system as well as arguments for and against incentivising CHWs. I firmly believe that CHWs should be incentivised appropriately not merely to compensate their contribution in community but also to value and motivate them as well as to ensure the retention and sustainability of various health programs and strengthen the national health system.
WHO defines community health workers (CHWs) as “those who should be members of the communities where they work, selected by the communities, be answerable to the communities for their activities, be supported by the health system but not necessarily a part of its organization and have shorter training than professional workers” (Lehmann & Sanders, 2007) CHWs are further depicted as people working outside of facility-based healthcare who obtain limited but formal health training provided by health program. Moreover, they can work on an entirely voluntary basis or be en...


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...aximisation in community well-being (Palmer & Torgerson, 1999).
Having recognised the advantages of CHWs, many countries recently have made efforts to integrate CHWs into the health systems to support various national health programs. Since many health programs operate under budget constraint as well as limited trained health staff, consequently CHWs are charged with additional tasks. Furthermore, even though in theory CHWs are intended to dedicate small amount of their time to undertake their health-related responsibilities, in practice they almost spend full time to serve their communities. Therefore, a debate about incentivising CHWs erupts. Some argue that CHWs deserve payment considering their high opportunity costs, but some of them are against the idea of paying CHWs because it is against the philosophy of volunteerism and the spirit that CHWs carry with.

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