Can a CHEW open a clinic in Nigeria? Can a community health extension worker open a private hospital or maternity home?

To answer this question, first you need a know who a CHEW is…

The term “CHEWs” refers to health workers who have received standardized training outside the formal nursing or medical curricula; countries use various names and training approaches for these category of health personnels. The CHEWs in the Nigeria pilot can be considered community health workers (CHWs) when providing services at the community level.

In many developing countries, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa, there are critical shortages of highly trained health professionals like medical doctors, pharmacists, nurses, lab scientists etc.

Can a CHEW open a clinic in Nigeria?
A community health extension worker in a rural PHC

Current medical and nursing schools cannot train enough workers to keep up with increasing demand for health care services, internal and external emigration of health workers, deaths from AIDS and other diseases, low workforce productivity, and population growth.

Community health workers are given a limited amount of training, supplies and support to provide essential primary health care services to the population. Programs involving CHEWs in China, Nigeria, Brazil, Iran and Bangladesh have demonstrated that utilizing such workers can help improve health outcomes for large populations in under-served regions.

“Task shifting” of primary care functions from professional health workers to community health workers is considered to be a means to make more efficient use of the human resources currently available and improving the health of millions at reasonable cost.

Please be informed that most of the primary health care centres in our rural communities are run by community health extension workers (CHEWs). they treat diseases in patients using standing order. Right now In Nigeria, many teaching hospitals and schools of health have programs for training community health workers.

Now that you have been educated on who CHEWs are, it is important to find out if they can own or open a private hospital or clinic.

Can a CHEW open a clinic in Nigeria?

It is not uncommon these days in Nigeria to see Senior OR even junior community health extension workers owning private clinics, private hospitals or even maternity homes but the truth is, CHEWs are not permitted by law to open a clinic, a pharmacy or even a maternity home. Any of such practice you see out there is grossly illegal and should be reported to the appropriate authorities. Community health extension workers are not legally allowed to own a private clinic not even nurses or pharmacists. Only medical doctor is backed by law to own and operate a private hospital or clinic.

PS: This article is not in anyway intended to downplay the importance of CHEWs. Community health extension workers very crucial to our health care as the bridge that wide gap in accessing health.

Thank you… For those that have asked this question, hope I have answered you? Share you ur thoughts and comments.

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