Burkina: more than 16,000 community health workers claim payment arrears

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Karim Kaboré, spokesperson for the ASBC in red

More than 16,000 community-based health workers (CBHAs), recruited since 2016, for the most part are waiting for at least one year of payment of their premium which would amount to 20,000 FCFA / month, said Tuesday, May 4, 2021. , their spokesperson, Karim Kaboré, facing the press at the Bourse du Travail, in Ouagadougou. The speakers told the women and men of the media their detailed complaints in about twenty points, aimed at improving their living and working conditions.

This exchange with the press aims to take public and international opinion to bear witness to the difficulties encountered by community-based health workers (CBHAs) in their work.

Right from the start, Karim Kaboré and his comrades specified that the activities carried out by the ASBCs are “raising awareness and carrying out mass campaigns (distribution of mildew, seasonal malaria campaigns, OPV)”. It is following their proof as volunteer workers that the Ministry of Health in its recruitment phase integrated them, not without the support of the villagers who had to appreciate their work in the past.

Once recruited, the ASBCs are entitled to a chip where their manager, that is to say the major or the District Chief Medical Officer (MCD), is supposed to pay per month their motivation bonus which amounts to 20,000 FCFA.

But, explained Salifo Tapsoba, a community health worker in Zoundwéogo province, the chip with which the ASBCs are provided and on which their motivation is sent via mobile money, is subsequently cut off if a change occurs, between a former ASBC and new recruit. This means that some “ASBC are more than a year late in payment, others six months, some five or four months,” added Mr. Tapsoba, adding that however “the work has increased currently. We were promised bikes, but nothing. Currently we are storing the little material we have at home ”.

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“It was from 2016 that the State recruited community-based health workers, two per village. The conditions were to have an age of 18 to 50 years, a minimum level of CEP and agree to reside in the said villages, namely the Health and Social Promotion Centers (CSPC) ”, explained Mr. Kaboré, adding that in fact, recruitment was aimed at “young people who were required to stay in the villages”.

The implementation of the activities of the ASBCs contributes, among other things, to the reduction of maternal and infant mortality, to health awareness, to family planning, to nutrition, to the fight against smoking, to assisted childbirth, to childbirth. ‘hygiene and sanitation, blood donation, malaria screening and treatment, measles diagnosis.

Despite their beneficial contribution to the health development of populations living mainly in rural areas, the ASBCs face multiple problems including concerns about remuneration. In the field, they face “the non-availability of certain inputs (RDTs), the lack of certain drugs (dispersible amoxicillin), the frequent breakdown of certain molecules (arthemeter + lumefentrin).

Community health workers also face difficulties in terms of motivation. It is about “late payment (in particular) the majority has a year of arrears, of the support below the minimum wage, the lack of means of protection especially in the context of the Covid-19, the lack of fixed site for consultations in villages, lack of focal points in charge of career management of ASBCs in districts and non-declaration to the National Social Security Fund (CNSS) or to the Autonomous Fund for Retirees and Civil Servants of Burkina (CARFO) ”.

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And, it is logical that these representatives of the Burkina Faso ASBCs submitted grievances against their supervisory ministry. Karim Kaboré and his comrades, in front of the press asked the Ministry of Health, “a career plan, the clearing without delay of salary arrears, the declaration of all the agents to the CNSS or to the Carfo, a payment. ASBCs from the SMIG, a monthly payment, the creation of a focal point in each district who will take care of the ASBCs, find a fixed site for activities in each village and make available the inputs and drugs entering the framework of the activities of community health workers ”.

Despite these difficulties, the speakers reassured that the CHAs continue their work normally and rely on the good faith of the health authorities to deal with diligence, their concerns which are akin to a question of survival, hearing the cry of the hearts of the speakers.

By Bernard BOUGOUM

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