Mashare-Four years ago, Agnes Ndango landed herself a job as a health extension worker. Today, she is a dedicated community worker who provides the much-needed health support to people in Mashare and the surrounding area.
Mashare is situated some 50 kilometers east of Rundu.
The six months training she underwent early on in her career has prepared her to diagnose diseases, such as malnutrition in children and adults, malaria, HIV, tuberculosis. She then refers those members who are in need of medical attention to the nearest clinic or health facility.
“I go in the community screening people for various diseases and providing information on how to prevent certain diseases,” the 26-year old explained in a recent interview with New Era.
According to UNICEF, the Health Extension Worker Programme was launched in 2012 in Namibia. Their role is to increase knowledge, raise awareness and shift attitude related to the prevention, promotion, treatment and rehabilitation of common health conditions.
“We go around with a register where we record the day’s activities. Some community members, including the headmen of various villages, love the idea of us going to their houses to give them information and hospital referrals but some refuse,” added Ndango.
Ndango has seen a tremendous difference and impact that health extension workers make in society, since she started working as one.
She explained that community health extension workers save lives because they can impress on patients to seek medical attention where they would otherwise have sought for it when it’s way too late. Also, the information they give can save lives.
“We give them [community members] first aid before they reach the nearest clinic,” added Ndango. She, however, feels that young people are not very appreciative of the work of health extension workers.
“I just feel that people, especially the youth must practice what we are telling them in order to prevent them from contracting preventable diseases,” Ndango added.