On 29 June 2009, the ALP sent the following letter to the Ministers of Health, Social Devel0pment, Economic Development and Labour regarding decent working conditions form community health and care workers (also known as “community care givers”).  Community health and care workers are play an increasingly critical role in the delivery of health care services in the country, including in the counseling and testing of people taking up VCT services.

The letter addresses three major concerns:

  1. That the current policy under discussion continues the practice of choosing not to formalise the employment of community care givers in favor of continuing the practice of calling all such workers “volunteers” who receive stipends and rely on a network of 1600 non-profit organisations to organise such workers;
  2. That the current policy continues to view all community health and care workers as a single class of workers and does not recognise the different environments, skill sets and functions different community health workers actually provide to the public health care system; and
  3. That the current policy fails to establish any career paths and skills development programmes for community health workers.

The letter was endorsed by 17 organisations.  A copy of the letter is available here.