Save the Children Courts Parliamentary Health Committee on HSA Housing
Save the Children in conjunction with various civil society organisations under the Malawi Health Equity Network (MHEN) courted the parliamentary health committee on the need to ensure that Health Surveillance Assistants (HSAs) reside in their catchment areas.
Speaking during the interface in Thyolo district, Grassroots Public Health (GRAPH) Director, Peter Kayenda, bemoaned the absence of HSAs in their catchment areas.
“Although policy guidelines on recruitment and deployment dictate that HSAs should reside in their catchment areas, there is lack of enforcement on this,” he said.
“The implications of this are that there is slow disease surveillance and response, low immunisation coverage, village clinics not operating optimally while Village Health Registers are not completed in time,” he added.
In his response, Vice Chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee on Health, Honorable Victor Musowa concurred with Peter Kayenda on the need to have HSAs reside in their catchment areas.
“It is worrisome to find that in many areas HSAs are not found in their catchment areas. This significantly affects issues of maternal and neonatal health,” Honorable Musowa lamented.
“The agenda is very pertinent to issues of equity and access to health in Malawi. As parliamentary committee on health, we are committed to working with the civil society and all partners so that together we achieve equitable health access to all,” he said.
He further underscored the need for research based evidence information to forge ahead with proper action.
As an action point, Honorable Victor Musowa promised that the Parliamentary Committee on Health will engage the Ministry of health to release a circular asking all HSAs to be residing in areas of their jurisdiction by July 2015.
Save the Children’s Maternal Newborn and Child Health Director, Reuben Ligowe stressed the absence of HSAs in their catchment areas is greatly affecting the efforts of Save the Children and other partners in ensuring that there is equity in access to health services.
“We need HSAs the most in our community based maternal and newborn care project and others including screening and monitoring of malnourished children,” he added.
Written by Collins Mhango, Knowledge Management Officer