The Southern Regional Health Authority (SRHA), which administrates healthcare in Manchester, Clarendon and St. Elizabeth has recruited 174 new Community Health Aides (CHA’s) and trained 196 existing ones in COVID-19 protocols, as part of the Authority’s effort to provide improved care to the community and boost its COVID-19 response.
CHA’s, who play an integral role in healthcare, are frontline healthcare workers, who function as patient advocates, and are seen as the “eyes and ears of the community”.
SRHA Regional Nursing Supervisor, Nadine Johnson Griffiths explained that in addition to being trained to support Jamaica’s COVID-19 response, the CHAs are being trained in areas to include: antenatal, postnatal, curative, rheumatic, mental health, environmental health, immunization, identifying symptoms of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and other areas that will assist with providing care at the community level.
The new CHA’s will support the existing staff in communities of Manchester, Clarendon and St. Elizabeth and will play an integral role in identifying the symptoms of COVID-19 and reporting suspected cases of the virus to the authorised health officials.
Nurse Johnson Griffiths explained that: “Their training prepares them to work with families in the community and to be able to identify problems and bring them to the attention of trained personnel. Therefore, they facilitate continuity of care through the provision of feedback and follow up.”
The Nursing Supervisor added that the CHA’s also assist with: “the dissemination of basic information on health and well being, the provision of support for maternal child health and family planning programmes; disease surveillance, communicable diseases, immunization, nutrition, first aid, chronic non-communicable diseases, mental health, home visits, environmental health, health education and promotion and follow up of discharges from hospital.”