Government to train lower cadre health workers

The Nasarawa State Government says it will empower lower cadre health workers to deliver higher responsibilities than their portfolios suggest.

The government said it hope to boost healthcare services through domestication of a policy document called the “National Task-shifting and Task-sharing’’ in collaboration with Pathfinder International.

The document gives guidelines on how lower cadre health workers, especially in the rural communities, would provide healthcare services higher than their grade through appropriate training.

Dr Ibrahim Adamu, the state’s Director of Public Health, said the domestication of the policy followed a two-day meeting where stakeholders deliberated and made inputs.
Adamu noted that most states of the federation, including Nasarawa, do not have the requisite human resource to meet the demands for healthcare service delivery.

“We have Primary Health Centres (PHCs) that cannot boast of a single medical doctor, nurse, pharmacist nor laboratory technician they need to provide services to the people.
“So, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has produced a document where people with less level of training can get appreciating training to enable them provide services a little higher than their grade level.
“For instance, community health extension workers can be trained to provide services that midwives can provide and nurses trained to provide services that doctors can provide,” Adamu said.

He explained that the policy is a stop-gap measure that would enable trained personnel provides certain services under supervision pending when the right amount of human resource for health is achieved.

“This is a policy document that would be applied appropriately as people would be trained to provide services under strict supervision and continuous on-the-job mentoring.
“The policy is not a license for people to venture into providing services that they are not trained for or not qualified to provide,” Adamu added.

He said that the government would intensify training for lesser cadre of health workers as well as integrated supportive supervision towards ensuring adequate implementation of the policy for the benefit of the people of the state.

According to Adamu, the state government recently trained over 300 community health extension workers and deployed to 982 primary healthcare facilities across the state to provide modified life saving skills.

Similarly, Mrs Edirin Aderemi, Programme Officer, Pathfinder International, said the domestication of the policy by Nasarawa state government would reduce maternal and child mortality as more people, especially in the rural communities, would have access to health services.

She said 60.5 per cent of the health workforce in the state was of the low skill cadre, adding that the higher cadre comprising doctors and nurses were grossly inadequate to meet the demands.

“So, we are saying, if the government does not have money to employ more people, there is a need to fill in the gap by task-sharing and task-shifting responsibilities from the higher to the lower cadre for more people to have access to quality health services,” Aderemi said.