Study on Health Extension Workers: Access to Information, Continuing Education and Reference Materials
Background: Access to information through continuing education (CE), reference and other resource materials is a prerequisite to the achievement of MDGs. Access of health workers to information in Ethiopia has been poor and will be further challenged by the deployment of 30,000 Health Extension Workers (HEW). Therefore, a study was undertaken to make a clear needs assessment, define priorities and identify resources to plan appropriate CE programs and prepare reference materials. Method: The study was conducted in 27 woredas, 50 health posts (HP) and on 60 HEW in all regions where HEW have been already deployed. Results: Almost all HEW have participated, on average for three and half days, in CE since their deployment. Woreda Health Offices (WHOs) were the main organizers. The HEW training modules are the only reference materials available at the HP level. Training in curative care and delivery related subjects stand out in future CE expectations of the HEW. Discussion and conclusions: The attention given to CE is encouraging but requires better planning and coordination. There is need to provide more reference and other resource materials. Increased use of modern technology for providing information should be explored.
Ethiopian Journal of Health Development Vol. 21 (3) 2007: pp. 240-245