CHWs (1) Welcome to the WHO-HSG-HIFA discussion on Community Health Workers!

31 May, 2019

Dear HIFA-Zambia colleagues,

Welcome to the WHO-HSG-HIFA discussion on Community Health Workers! This discussion starts tomorrow 1 June and is taking place on all six HIFA forums, including HIFA-Zambia! Our purpose is to share views, experience and expertise on *how* more effectively to support CHWs to accelerate progress towards universal health coverage.

As a personal comment, I have been encouraged and excited over the past 5-10 years by the growing 'global health movement' in support of CHWs. Research has clearly demonstrated that lay health workers - if well trained and supervised - can safely provide a wide range of primary health services. CHWs are recognised as having a huge potential to help accelerate progress towards universal health coverage and other SDG health targets. At the same time, these high expectations are daunting. The potential of CHWs will not be realised unless they are adequately supported to provide the care for which they are trained. To do this effectively will require a huge coordinated effort at all levels of the health system

Our role here on HIFA-Zambia is to freely share our views, experience and expertise around the role of CHWs for health in Zambia. We are especially keen to hear from those who are working on the front line: CHWs and the people who work with them. We are equally keen to hear from researchers, policymakers, publishers, social scientists and indeed all disciplines represented on HIFA-Zambia. The challenge of 'how more effectively to support CHWs' requires a multidisciplinary approach.

We shall be guided in our discussions by the recently launched WHO Guideline on health policy and system support to optimize community health worker programmes (CHW Guideline). This provides a number of recommendations for consideration by national ministries of health and the wider global health community. To get the most out of the upcoming discussion I encourage you to review the recommendations of the CHW Guideline. You can download selected highlights here in all six UN official lnguages:

Our first thematic discussion starts officially tomorrow 1 June 2019 and will continue for 6 weeks. I shall post shortly a separate message with some questions that we have developed to help frame the discussion.

In the meantime, please continue to spread the word and invite more people to join us!

Our thanks to the members of the HIFA working group on CHWs who have given their time and expertise voluntarily to serve this project. And to WHO for their support.

Best wishes, Neil

Coordinator, HIFA Project on Community Health Workers

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HIFA-Zambia profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is the coordinator of HIFA-Zambia and the HIFA campaign (Healthcare Information For All - ). Twitter: @hifa_org FB:

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