Video Spotlight

"'I'm a Health Worker' - Abduaraman Gidi" made by IntraHealth International.

Community and Formal Health System Support for Enhanced Community Health Worker Performance

The global shortage of skilled, motivated, and supported health workers is universally acknowledged as a key development challenge because it is a critical barrier to strengthening health systems, achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), improving the prospects for universal health coverage, and addressing inequity and poverty. The World Health Report 2006, Working Together for Health, estimated a worldwide shortage of 4.3 million health workers.

Lay health workers in primary and community health care for maternal and child health and the management of infectious diseases

Lay health workers (LHWs) are widely used to provide care for a broad range of health issues. Little is known, however, about the effectiveness of LHW interventions.The paper assesses the effectiveness of LHW interventions in primary and community health care on maternal and child health and the management of infectious diseases. The results showed that LHWs provide promising benefits in promoting immunisation uptake and breastfeeding, improving TB treatment outcomes, and reducing child morbidity and mortality when compared to usual care.

Global Health Evidence Summit: Community and Formal Health System Support for Enhanced Community Health Worker Performance

The global shortage of skilled, motivated, and supported health workers is universally acknowledged as a barrier to achieving the Millennium Development Goals. The World Health Report 2006, “Working Together for Health,” estimated that there is a shortage of 4.3 million health workers in the world.

CHWs and other FLHW: Moving from Fragmentation to Synergy to achieve Universal Health Coverage

From the early years of primary health care, community-based health workers and volunteers (CHWs) have played a key role in satisfying the need and demand for essential health services. This article proposes that CHWs need to be supported and recognized as a pivotal part of health care. CHW programmes need be comprehensive rather than vertical and they should rely on both the community and the formal health system for supplies, communications and referrals.

Roles and Effectiveness of Lay Community Health Workers in the Prevention of Mental, Neurological and Substance Use Disorders in Low and Middle Income Countries: A Systematic Review

It has been suggested that lay community health workers (LHWs) could play a role in primary and secondary prevention of Mental, Neurological and Substance use (MNS) disorders in low resourced settings. The paper conducts a systematic literature review aimed to assess the existing evidence base for the roles and effectiveness of lay community health workers in primary and secondary prevention of mental, neurological and substance us disorders in low and middle income countries.

A Universal Truth: No Health Without A Workforce

This report was commissioned by the Global Health Workforce Alliance Secretariat and the World Health Organization to consolidate the latest information available on human resources for health and inform the global community on how to attain, sustain and accelerate progress on universal health coverage. It was launched at the Third Global Forum on Human Resources for Health.

Effectiveness of Community Health Workers (CHWS) in the Provision of Basic Preventive and Curative Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (MNCH) Interventions: A Systematic Review

This review was designed to find evidence of the effectiveness of CHWs in providing basic preventive and curative MNCH interventions, and to identify the factors that are crucial to their performance. The review looked at relevant English-language articles from 1998-2008 and systematically reviewed 14. The results showed that in 12/14 articles CHWs were effective in reducing neonatal/child deaths, increasing breastfeeding, reducing and treating malaria and reducing workload of health professionals.

Community Home-Based Care for People and Communities Affected by HIV/AIDS: Training Course and Handbook for Community Health Workers

This pre-tested and peer-reviewed curriculum focuses on the knowledge and skills necessary for providing holistic CHBC for people living with HIV/AIDS, transferring knowledge and skills to caregivers and CHBC clients, and mobilizing communities around HIV/AIDS prevention, care, treatment, and support. The trainer’s guide includes comprehensive units that cover topics from HIV basics, communication skills, nursing care, nutrition, positive living, family planning, HIV prevention, and ART to community mobilization.

Informal Health Workers: To Be Encouraged or Condemned?

Informal health workers are found in every health system, and the impact of their role increases as the strength of the formal sector weakens. Informal health workers can be significant players in communities and deserve to be acknowledged, encouraged and supported. This editorial discusses the role informal health workers play in different countries and ways to collaborate with formal health workers in providing better health care. 

Interventions to Improve Motivation and Retention of Community Health Workers Delivering Integrated Community Case Management (iCCM): Stakeholder Perceptions and Priorities

This work reports the results of semi-structured interviews with 15 international stakeholders, selected because of their experiences in community health worker program implementation, to elicit their views on strategies that could increase community health worker motivation and retention.


CHW Central is managed by Initiatives Inc. Site start-up was supported by the USAID Health Care Improvement Project in 2011.

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