Job security appeal for community health aides
Opposition Spokesman on Health Dr Morais Guy made a strong case on Wednesday for community health aides to be given security of tenure.
Guy claimed that the majority of community health aides employed by the Government for more than a decade held temporary positions with no prospect of getting a pension when they retire.
While lauding the Government for recently recruiting more than 1,000 community health aides to provide COVID-19 outreach in communities, the opposition spokesman on health questioned why they have been offered temporary posts initially for two years.
“I make no accusation, but it is clear as night versus day that something does not smell right here,” Guy said during his Sectoral Debate presentation in Parliament.
Himself a medical doctor, Guy praised community health aides for making the public health system more robust, noting that COVID-19 remains a clear and present danger.
Guy is also pushing for community health aides to be returned to their original roles of working closely with communities.
“We need them back in the field so they can interface with the many persons who are ill, who have non-communicable diseases, and to be able to afford them better health services and care for them in the community without having to resort to costly hospitalisation and exacerbation of their illnesses,” Guy asserted.
Turning to the perennial high migration of nurses, Guy suggested that the Government absorb the repayment of student loans for graduates and to bond them for three to four years.
He also explored the possibility of providing scholarships to 500 nursing trainees each year in the nine recognised nursing schools locally. He said that an element of an in-service programme could be introduced as part of the repayment options.