Value Added with Improved Literacy-VHWs

For the purpose of coverage by the Village Health Workers Scheme in Gombe State, no less than 57 communities were clustered in Kurjale which is the headquarters of Jagali South ward in Yamaltu Deba Local Government Area. Most of the people here are farmers.

The 16 VHWs assigned to cover these communities are literate with some educated up to secondary school. However, with little need or chance for formal interactions; their skills are a bit rusty. As such filling out the MIS/tracking tools of the scheme has posed a bit of a challenge.

During one of data collection meetings where the Ward Development Committee members were present to support and witness the process, the WDC Chairman observed the difficulty the VHWs had in completing the forms and the extra measures the programme officer had to employ to ensure accuracy of reporting. The WDC chairman being a primary and secondary school principal in the community suggested that these gaps can be addressed with literacy classes for the VHWs.

The idea was well received by VHWs and other stakeholders present and classes were immediately scheduled for two hours every Sunday. So far they have held four sessions and already the quality of reports coming in have improved. Basically the learning curriculum includes simplifying technical words, spelling and writing skills. The VHWs are more confident in their engagements with the supervising CHEWs and project officers.