South African Community Health Workers (CHW) will receive a stipend for an extended three years while the Public Health and Social Development Sectoral Bargaining Council (PHSDSBC) continue to discuss the matter of their permanent employment.
On Wednesday, the Health Department welcomed the Bargaining Council’s resolution to improve work conditions, standardise remuneration and the conditions of service of CHWs.
In a statement, the department’s spokesperson Foster Mohale said, based on the current minimum wage, the Community Health Workers shall receive the stipend of R4 058.45.
The amount is set to increase annually as determined by the Minister of Employment and Labour until it is reviewed in 2025.
“This follows a three-year agreement signed on 21 July 2022 by majority of parties in the council to ensure there is consistency in the scope of work and work conditions of the Community Health Workers across the country,” said Mohale.
Since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020, CHWs have been dispatched to communities to distribute educational materials, screen people for the deadly disease and conduct contact tracing of those who test positive for the virus.
“The Department believes this will address the discrepancies and concerns often raised by the concerned groups, including labour and civil society organisations, on the role played by the CHWs in the public health system and the work conditions in which they operate,” said Mohale.
Community Health Workers raise awareness about disease, link communities with health services, relay crucial health information and mobilise people to determine their health needs.
“The Department is committed to ensuring the development of Standard Operational Procedure for the recruitment, selection, appointment, placement, remuneration, skills development, dispute resolution, occupational health and safety processes, and the absorption in the health system for CHWs.”