In Southern Africa, the full range of services provided to sick patients and family members in the homes and communities are provided by care workers. These include prevention education, psychosocial support, cooking, cleaning, feeding, helping with toilet needs, administration of remedies and treatments, and elements such as love and healing which are critical services for resuscitative and palliative care. Home based care has emerged as a Cheap Service Delivery Model for Multi Country Africa HIV/AIDS programmes. Research shows that an effective and affordable Community and Home Based Care for People Living with HIV and AIDS, has the potential to positively impact the health and social status of patients, families and the community as a whole and that reduces the country burden and ultimately the SADC burden. Multi Country Africa is committed to the achievements many protocols, which entail the Global and African Commitments that Support Care provision.
I have been doing care work for the past 7 years, and started getting an incentive of $15 since 3 years ago. It does not come regularly, it cannot take care of my family. At my age I have considered re-writing my Ordinary level, and if I pass I may train to be a nurse or a teacher.
Care work in Zimbabwe is done by women volunteers. They are very few men who join the voluntary, non recognized work. However, within the health structure in Zimbabwe, there is mention of care work in policies, strategies and reports. Even donors acknowledge care workers’ roles and responsibility that come with a recognizable impact on health management systems. It is not clear though how they fail to understand the responsibility/need that comes with it.
FACT Chiredzi has been working with care workers for more than 10 years. It has more than 2 000 care workers whose plight is to have the government taking up the responsibility of the welfare of the care workers rather than leaving it to the donors to do so. Among other things, care work in Zimbabwe is not recognized as work, it is termed ’care giving’ which has some volunteerism connotation, the certificates that the care workers are given after various trainings are not accredited and are not standardised. They struggle to get free medication and have no tools of trade. They have challenges with remuneration, logistic and material support:, training and professional recognition, psychosocial support, gender equality and public private partnerships are issues that confront their entitlements.
Mara goes on to say…… Thanks to FACT Chiredzi and Wellness Foundation supported by Afrikagrupperna Zimbabwe and South Africa. The information on care worker rights and well being has truly liberated me. I now know what I should demand from my husband (Ministry of Health). I have been married to the Ministry of Health for more than 7 years and did not know what benefits I was mean to get, I did not know what the marriage contract entailed, I was just doing things without knowledge. My husband was clever and nearly got away with it silently. He knows what to do, but chooses not to. With the explanation of our Care worker policy that was drafted and adopted by my husband, its time I confront him and ask him to fulfill what he promised, what he is meant to do for me. I am well informed now, I realise he breeched our agreement and my trust. He has to tell me why…