26 May 2018


Outpatient commends work of community health workers

by: Ngwako Motsieng   date: 02 february 2018

Bokone Bophirima’s Department of Health has incorporated
community health workers (CHW) into the health system to
improve efficiency and to support chronic patients.
One of the patients, Hendrick Hermanas, admitted that his ailing
health would deteriorate further without the help of community
health workers.
“Community health workers have become part of my family. Every
second Friday they visit my home to check my prognosis and see
if I have been taking my dialysis treatment as prescribed. I am
nothing without their support,” Hermanas glowingly said last week.
Hermanas (52) of Karlien Park near Rustenburg, was diagnosed
with kidney failure six years ago and undergoes treatment at the
Job Shimankane Tabane Hospital. In-between appointments,
Hermanas relies on community health workers for support.
They play a critical role in the healthcare system by supporting
chronic illness patients and nursing them back to good health.
Over the years their roles increased to include that of community
empowerment and linking communities with health facilities.
Community health workers also play the role of peer educators,
community councillors, caregivers and treatment default tracers.
Wendy Ditlhamelo from Sunrise Park is one of the 7 224
community health workers in Bokone Bophirima. Ditlhamelo (35) is
currently servicing areas within the Rustenburg Health Sub-
“My job entails supplying medication to chronic patients and
checking if they are taking treatment as prescribed. I derive joy
from seeing my patients getting back to good health,” she said.
Asked about challenges she faces on a daily basis, Ditlhamelo
said: “Patients who provide wrong details make it difficult for
community health workers to support them. I had a TB patient who
supplied the clinic with incorrect information. After he missed few
medication collection dates, I had to trace him to the address he

provided, only to realise that it was wrong. We made further
enquiries and discovered that, unfortunately, the patient had lost
the battle.
“Such situations could be avoided with the support of community
health workers. It is important for patients to furnish clinics with
correct information when they open files,” she said, with a tearful
Ditlhamelo advises patients to embrace community health workers
as they are there to support them.
The Department of Health has added community health workers to
the Primary Health Care (PHC) Re-engineering to strengthen
community based health services. PHC Re-engineering puts more
emphasis on health promotion and preventative services at
household level. It consists of PHC outreach teams for each
electoral ward; strengthening school health service; and District
based clinical specialist teams with an initial focus on improving
maternal and child health.
The department has purchased 364 bicycles for community health
workers in Dr Kenneth Kaunda District - a National Health
Insurance pilot site - in an effort to improve daily coverage and
contact with patients.
Health MEC, Dr Magome Masike, said his department continues to
look for alternative and innovative solutions to address health
matters in the province.