Today the People’s Health Movement South Africa stands in solidarity with the The Gauteng Community Health Care Forum (GCHCF) who are protesting against the continuing disregard of Community Healthcare Workers’ (CHWs) labour rights by the Gauteng Department of Health (DoH).
Community health workers (CHWs) form the backbone of the primary health care system. Research and experience from a growing number of countries show rapid improvements in child health when good household coverage is attained through the use of community-level workers who are supported by clinics and health centres and are equipped with basic skills to identify, prevent and treat common conditions.
In South Africa, there is currently no standardised training nor employment conditions for community care workers. Many are expected to accomplish much more that what their meagre stipends reflect. Often, they work under hazardous conditions with little protection for their health and safety. Despite this, thousands of community care workers continue to work with vulnerable communities, delivering an essential service to address the need caused by South Africa’s burden of disease and the failure of our ailing health system.
Recent changes to their employment conditions have seen the introduction of measures supposedly prioritising efficiency but which in reality are inefficient, reduce effectiveness and increase inequity. The outsourcing of contracts to SMARTPURSE is part of the privatisation of basic health care under neoliberal policies, which put the market ahead of people, and profits ahead of health.
We demand that the Gauteng health Dept
- Do away with the outsourcing of the Community Health Workers and absorbs them into the health service, making them permanently employed.
- Offer the Community Health Workers the security of permanent employment.
- The Gauteng health Dept creates safer and diginified working conditions Community Health Workers.
We support the demands:
CHWs say NO to SMARTPURSE contracts!!
CHWs say NO to Outsourcing!!
CHWs say NO to exploitation and oppression by the Department of Health!!