Obstacles Faced by Multi-Purpose Health Workers
Multi-Purpose Health Workers (MPHWs), sometimes referred to as Health Extension Workers or Community Health Workers, are essential members of public health systems around the world. These front-line healthcare workers play a vital role in illness prevention, community well-being, and health promotion by acting as a link between underserved areas and official healthcare services. We examine the many duties, education, difficulties, and general influence of Multi-Purpose Health Workers on public health in this thorough investigation.
Synopsis of Multifunctional Healthcare Personnel
1. Definition and Scope- Multi-purpose health workers are front-line healthcare providers with a broad range of skills who are prepared to handle a variety of community health-related requirements. In addition to providing medical care, their responsibilities frequently encompass disease prevention, maternal and child health, community mobilization, and health education.
2. Global Variations and Titles:- Titles like Health Extension Worker (HEW) in Ethiopia, Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA) in India, and Community Health Worker (CHW) in many other contexts are examples of how the nomenclature differs throughout nations and regions. Although they have different titles, they both have similar primary duties that center on the health and welfare of the community.
Multipurpose Health Workers’ Roles and Responsibilities
1. Health Education and Promotion:- Hold health education events in local communities to increase knowledge of nutrition, cleanliness, and preventive measures. Handle dietary issues in communities by providing advice on breastfeeding, balanced meals, and nutritional supplements.
2. Maternal and Child Health:- Help reduce maternal and infant mortality by facilitating prenatal and postnatal care, supporting deliveries, and offering vital maternal and child health services. Provide community members with prompt medical attention by administering basic remedies for common ailments like fever, diarrhea, and respiratory infections.
3. Vaccination and Preventive Care:- Plan and take part in immunization campaigns to safeguard populations against diseases that can be prevented by vaccination. Engage the community by taking an active role in promoting active involvement in healthcare activities and cultivating a sense of ownership over health projects.
4. Disease Surveillance and Reporting:- Keep track of the incidence of diseases in local communities and promptly report outbreaks to higher-level healthcare authorities so that appropriate action can be taken. Keep up-to-date records of community members’ medical conditions to facilitate the assessment of the efficacy of healthcare interventions and the tracking of health trends.
5. Family Planning and Reproductive Health:- Offer guidance and assistance about family planning techniques, reproductive health, and the well-being of families. Homemade chili oil adds a delightful kick to various dishes, from stir-fries and noodles to salads and grilled meats.
Education and Talent Acquisition:
1. Curriculum and Training Programs:- The curriculum for MPHW training programs is broad and includes topics such as community involvement, public health concepts, basic medical treatment, and communication techniques.
2. On-the-Job Training:- This essential element enables MPHWs to use their knowledge in real-life situations and develop their abilities via practical experience.
3. Continuous Professional Development:- To keep MPHWs abreast of the most recent developments in public health, emerging diseases, and healthcare practices, MPHWs must engage in ongoing training and skill development.
Public Health Impact
1. Access to Healthcare Services:- By delivering necessary services to individuals who might otherwise encounter barriers to healthcare, MPHWs greatly enhance access to healthcare in underserved and distant regions. By actively participating in community mobilization, MPHWs enable communities to take control of their health, encouraging accountability and group effort.
2. Decrease in Deaths of Mothers and Children:- MPHWs focus on the health of mothers and children, and by providing prompt interventions, support during childbirth, and preventive care, they help lower the rates of maternal and child mortality. MPHWs are essential in bridging health inequalities by guaranteeing that vulnerable and marginalized groups have fair access to medical treatment.
3. Improved Immunization Coverage: MPHWs are essential in boosting immunization rates, which guarantees that a larger proportion of the populace is shielded from ailments that can be avoided.
4. Health Behavior Change:- MPHWs inspire communities to embrace healthier habits and lifestyles by promoting positive health behavior change through health education and community involvement.
5. Disease Surveillance and Early Detection:- MPHWs serve as the first line of defense to stop the spread of infectious illnesses by facilitating early outbreak detection and response.
Obstacles Multipurpose Health Workers Face
1. Limited Resources:- The ability of MPHWs to provide comprehensive healthcare may be hampered by a lack of funds, medical supplies, and transportation. Shortages of essential medical supplies, including medications, vaccines, and basic healthcare equipment, hinder the ability of MPHWs to provide comprehensive care.
2. Workforce Burnout:- Excessive workloads, especially in environments with limited resources, can cause burnout in MPHWs, which lowers their morale and decreases their sense of fulfillment in their jobs. In some settings, there may be limited opportunities for career progression or professional development for MPHWs, impacting their job satisfaction and retention.
3. Sociocultural Barriers:- The acceptance and efficacy of some healthcare initiatives may be impacted by sociocultural norms and beliefs within communities. Differences in languages spoken within diverse communities can pose communication challenges, affecting the effectiveness of health education and counseling by MPHWs.
4. Training Disparities:- Differences in the caliber and length of MPHWs’ training courses can affect their readiness and efficacy in the field. Some MPHWs may lack specialized training in certain healthcare areas, limiting their ability to address complex medical conditions or emergencies
5. Integration with Formal Healthcare Systems: Cooperation and coordination between community-level and facility-based healthcare professionals are necessary to ensure the smooth integration of MPHWs into formal healthcare systems, which continues to be a difficulty.
Prospective Paths and Advancements
1. Technological Integration:- Using technology, such as telemedicine and mobile health apps, can increase MPHWs’ effectiveness and reach while delivering healthcare services. Advancements in telemedicine can enable MPHWs to connect with healthcare professionals, consult on complex cases, and provide remote healthcare services to underserved areas.
2. Community-Based Research:- By including MPHWs in community-based research, policies, and interventions related to public health can be informed by evidence-based practices. Involving MPHWs in community-based research initiatives can deepen their understanding of local health needs and contribute to evidence-based interventions tailored to specific communities.
3. Mental Health Support:- Given the significance of mental health, MPHWS must have access to mental health support systems to manage any stress or emotional difficulties they may encounter. Providing training in psychosocial support equips MPHWs to address emotional stress, burnout, and psychological challenges they may encounter in their roles.
4. Global Cooperation and Learning Networks:- Creating global cooperation networks can help MPHWs all over the world share innovations, best practices, and lessons learned. Offering cross-cultural training programs enhances the cultural competency of MPHWs, enabling them to navigate diverse communities more effectively.
5. Environmental and Disaster Preparedness:-Providing specialized training in disaster response equips MPHWs to handle healthcare challenges during and after natural disasters, ensuring resilience in healthcare systems. Collaborating with communities to develop resilience programs enhances the preparedness of both MPHWs and community members in the face of environmental challenges.
The foundation of community-based healthcare is made up of Multi-Purpose Health Workers, who are vital in promoting health, avoiding illness, and guaranteeing access to necessary medical services. Despite obstacles, they have a significant impact on public health, especially in underprivileged areas. Acknowledging their importance, tackling obstacles, and welcoming innovations are crucial measures in optimizing the capabilities of Multi-Purpose Health Workers for enhancing worldwide health results. As time goes on, funding MPHW empowerment, support, and training becomes increasingly important as a means of creating robust and efficient healthcare systems.
Frequently Asked Question
Q1. What is the difference between MPHW and ANM?
Multi-Purpose Health Worker (MPHW) and Auxiliary Nurse Midwife (ANM) are two different acronyms.ANM is usually female, although MPHW can be either gender.ANM completes a 24-month nursing-level course, while MPHW completes an 18-month medical-level course. The primary responsibilities of MPHW are the prevention, detection, and management of common non-communicable diseases like diabetes, hypertension, and some types of cancer. ANM is primarily in charge of family planning, vaccinations, and the health of mothers and children.
Q2. How many MPHW are there in India?
According to the RHS Bulletin (2008), there were 63,405 Multi-Purpose Health Workers (Male) in India, out of 87,835 sanctioned posts. However, this number may have changed since then, as some states have declared the MPHW (Male) as a dying cadre and stopped recruitment. The current status of MPHW (Male) in India is not clear, as there is no recent data available. India’s Auxiliary Nurse-Midwife, Anganwadi Worker, Accredited Social Health Activist, Multipurpose Worker, and Lady Health Visitor Programs.
Q3. What is the role of MPHW in India?
The role of MPHW in India is to provide primary healthcare services to communities in need, especially in rural and remote areas. Prevention, screening, and control of common non-communicable diseases, such as hypertension, diabetes, and some cancers.Control of communicable diseases such as Malaria, TB, Leprosy, Water Borne Diseases, etc.Environmental sanitation, detection of disease outbreaks and their control.Health education and promotion. Emergency health care services at lower levels.
Q4. What are the eligibility criteria for MPHW?
Minimum Age: Applicants must be at least 17 years old by or before December 31st of the admission year.Maximum Age: The upper age limit for admission is 35 years.Educational Requirements: Candidates should have completed 10+2 with specific subject combinations. Acceptable subjects include Arts or Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Biotechnology, Economics, Political Science, History, Geography, Business Studies, Accountancy, Home Science, Sociology, Psychology, and Philosophy) and English Core/English Elective of science or Health care Science Vocational stream.