Video Spotlight

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

Kojo Yeboah-Antwi, Davidson H Hamer, Katherine Semrau, Karen Z Waltensperger, Gail Snetro-Plewman, Chilobe Kambikambi, Amon Sakala, Stephen Filumba, Bias Sichamba and David R Marsh

Zambia has a strained health care system with limited health facilities and human resources, and thus has been using community-based health workers, mostly volunteers, to provide basic health services, especially in rural areas, to confront its high under-5 mortality. Two common volunteer cadres are community health workers (CHWs) and trained traditional birth attendants (TBAs). CHWs as per government policy, have been trained to provide a wide range of services, including preventive and promotive interventions, health education, community mobilization and sensitization, and treatment of common childhood illnesses (fever, diarrhea, and pneumonia).

Trained TBAs and CHWs may reside in the same community, but work independently of each other, leading to inefficiency and missed opportunities for continuity of care. There is a growing recognition that health interventions for newborns should be integrated into child health programs to promote a continuum of care, an approach expected to promote care for mothers and children from pregnancy to delivery, and into the immediate postnatal period and childhood.

Teaming is an accepted approach in health care settings but rarely practiced at the community level in developing countries. Save the Children trained and deployed teams of volunteer community health workers (CHWs) and trained traditional birth attendants (TBAs) to provide essential newborn and curative care for children aged 0–59 months in rural Zambia. This paper assessed whether CHWs and trained TBAs can work as teams to deliver interventions and ensure a continuum of care for all children under-five, including newborns.  

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