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To mark World Health Worker Week, we hear from a physician and a nurse in Ghana to understand the challenges they face as health workers and celebrate their unwavering commitment to improving health outcomes in their community.
Q: What challenges are you faced with as health workers?
Michael: As we work in a health centre, it is sometimes issues around policy that limits us in relation to the scope of clinical diagnosis, treatments and interventions we can offer. As a result, people in the community sometimes feel reluctant to come and seek health care, but we do our best to give them the assurance that we can give them optimal care.
Delinda: As a nurse, there are a couple of things we lack in the facility, such as logistics, and sometimes you have to deal with difficult clients.
Q: How does it feel to be able to help your community?
Michael: It’s a privilege. One of my past directors told me:
“If you are the Minister of Health, wherever you find yourself, make sure whatever you do will help the community, make sure whatever you do, is going to bring the best of healthcare within the community”.
It is therefore a privilege for me to sit down with my team and plan how best we can reach community members, to consider the necessary logistics and to make sure their healthcare becomes a paramount thing to us.
Delinda: I feel very excited because I have the opportunity to help everybody with the knowledge I have.
Q: Is there anything else you’d like to say about your role?
Michael: Most of the time I do less clinical work and more managerial work as I am the only clinician here. I do a lot of liaison and I lobby a lot of the community members.
I always have to make sure I touch base with them because one wouldn’t necessarily appreciate public health until one comes to the health centre, where you have to go to the zones and make sure the community health nurses are working and doing the necessary home visits and giving the necessary vaccines.
You also have to bring different leaders on board such as a chief or a religious leader. As much as you have to work with them you have to liaise with them, to ensure they understand the situation.
I have to say, my community has been very helpful, anytime we go to them and ask for help through them, they come to help the facility. It was a learning curve for me, especially where I was coming from and it has taught me a different aspect of health in generaI. Good team work is important and the collaboration from the community has been fantastic.
Delinda: As a nurse I find it very interesting because from where I find myself, you act mostly as a clinician, as a pharmacist… You are a nurse but you do practically everything, so you have to be very knowledgeable and be able to handle the pressure.
Aplaku Family Fitness Clinic, Ghana