While some local community members will volunteer as coordinators on an ad hoc basis, health workers and permanent staff should be compensated for their work. By creating local jobs, global health organizations contribute to local economies, though they must avoid disrupting the economic status quo. Paying higher wages at an NGO-supported clinic could make staff at other clinics demand higher rates from their employers, which may not be possible. This could create unnecessary demands and tensions within the community. Staff payment must therefore be comparable to the salaries of similar local jobs, and decisions about staff compensation need to be made by local clinics. Additionally, NGOs can build local economic capacity by hiring community members, and should therefore avoid employing (and paying) foreign staff.
“In determining how much to pay community health workers, it is important to keep in mind local pay scales for public sector employees, from schoolteachers to staff at health facilities. When a new CHW program is established in an area where community health workers already exist, the payment for both groups should be harmonized as much as possible.”(1)
(1) “Community Health Workers: Payment” Partners in Health Model Online. Model.pih.org. Accessed on 12 November 2008.