Community health worker (CHW) programming is one of the largest portfolios in World Vision’s health; nutrition; and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sector, with 48 countries operating a wide diversity of CHW initiatives. We continue to work and build partnerships towards strengthening community health systems and the community health workforce, a commitment we made to the World Health Organization (WHO) Global Health Workforce Alliance in Recife in 2013.
A mass test and treat campaign (MTAT) using rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) and artemether-lumefantrine (AL) was conducted in Southern Zambia in 2012 and 2013 to reduce the parasite reservoir and progress towards malaria elimination. Through this intervention, community health workers (CHWs) tested all household members with rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) and provided treatment to those that tested positive.
Angola is undergoing a period of reconstruction, after experiencing a protracted civil war that lasted until 2002. This historical context of violent conflicts has left a legacy of low rates of production and capital accumulation, of severe debt, and extreme dependency on foreign countries, all of which markedly influence the health situation of the Angolan people.
Community health workers (CHWs) can play important roles in primary health care delivery, particularly in settings of health workforce shortages. However, little is known about CHWs’ perceptions of barriers and motivations, as well as those of the beneficiaries of CHWs. In Rwanda, which faces a significant gap in human resources for health, the Ministry of Health expanded its community health programme beginning in 2007, eventually placing 4 trained CHWs in every village in the country by 2009.
In an attempt to address a complex disease burden, including improving progress towards MDGs 4 and 5, South Africa recently introduced a re-engineered Primary Health Care (PHC) strategy, which has led to the development of a national community health worker (CHW) programme. The present study explored the development of a cell phone-based and paper-based monitoring and evaluation (M&E) system to support the work of the CHWs.
A paucity of skilled health providers is a considerable impediment to reducing maternal, infant, and under-five mortality for many low-resource countries. Although evidence supports the effectiveness of community health workers (CHWs) in delivering primary healthcare services, shifting tasks to this cadre from providers with advanced training has been pursued with overall caution—both because of difficulties determining an appropriate package of CHW services and to avoid overburdening the cadre.
Community health worker (CHW) programmes are currently being scaled-up in sub-Saharan Africa to improve access to healthcare. CHWs are often volunteers; from an economic perspective, this raises considerations whether reliance on an unpaid workforce is sustainable and how to appropriately cost and value the work of CHWs. Both these questions can be informed by an understanding of CHWs’ workload, their opportunity costs of time and the perceived benefits of being a CHW. However, to date few studies have fully explored the methodological challenges in valuing CHW time.
In 2012, the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare (MOHSW), Tanzania, approved national guidelines and training materials for community health workers (CHWs) in integrated maternal, newborn and child health (Integrated MNCH), with CHWs trained and deployed across five districts of Morogoro Region soon after. To inform future scale up, this study assessed motivation and satisfaction among these CHWs.
Despite the progress some countries have made in scaling up CHW programs, many countries that would benefit from strong CHW cadres currently have only ad hoc, sub-scale programs. This problem extends even to high-income countries that would benefit from CHW programs to provide cost-effective care and battle chronic disease. Countries wishing to scale these programs using a coordinated national strategy face many challenges.
The Community Tool Box is a free, online resource for those working to build healthier communities and bring about social change. Our mission is to promote community health and development by connecting people, ideas, and resources.
The Tool Box consists of 46 chapters with topics ranging from community assessment to strategic planning to leadership and management. Each chapter also contains a related toolkit that can be utilized by your organization or used as a teaching tool.