Post the recent Astana Declaration, there has been a renewed interest in building momentum for strengthening community health systems. This review proposes a global research agenda to improve community health worker programs.
To support quality CHW program design and implementation, USAID, UNICEF, the Community Health Impact Coalition, and Initiatives Inc. have updated and adapted the Community Health Worker Assessment and Improvement Matrix (CHW AIM) Program Functionality Matrix tool. This tool can be applied at district, regional, and national levels to identify and close gaps in design and implementation and, ultimately, enhance program performance.
To achieve universal health coverage, health systems will have to reach into every community, including the poorest and hardest to access. Since Alma-Ata, inconsistent support of community health workers (CHWs) and failure to integrate them into the health system have impeded full realization of their potential contribution in the context of primary health care.
In 2015, the One Million Community Health Workers (1mCHW) Campaign and mPowering Frontline Health Workers (mPowering) conducted a series of interviews and held an online discussion, hosted on the Healthcare Information for All forum, on the need of improved data on community health workers (CHWs) to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
Mobile phones can be transformative for community health workers (CHWs) in enhancing their influence and status and helping to solve practical problems. While formal intervention research can help advance mHealth application, most progress will come through a "diffusion of innovation" process.
Care Group projects resulted in high levels of healthy behavior, including use of oral rehydration therapy, bed nets, and health care services. Accordingly, under-5 mortality in Care Groups areas declined by an estimated 32% compared with 11% in areas with child survival projects not using Core Groups.
Care Groups use volunteers to motivate mothers to adopt key MCH behaviors. The volunteers meet as a group every 2-4 weeks with a paid facilitator to learn new health promotion messages. Key ingredients of the approach include: peer-to-peer health promotion, selection of volunteers by the mothers, a manageable workload for the volunteers (no more than 15 households per volunteer), frequent (at least monthly) contact between volunteers and mothers, and regular supervision of the volunteers.