Recommendation 5: Using competency-based formal certification for CHWs who have successfully completed pre-service training.
Certification is important to formalizing the CHW profession, raising CHWs profile/perceptions of legitimacy among other healthcare workers and providing them a foundation for career advancement. Yet setting up credentialing systems can be tricky; effective formal certification requires management and tracking systems. In the US, states have grappled with how to credential CHWs, what it means for sustaining the profession, and the challenges it presents to maintaining some of the best qualified CHWs – who may not speak English fluently or have high levels of education – in the profession. While the US is a high income country, we face huge barriers to health access for poor and underserved populations and many of the issues states are grappling with and the lessons they have learned will resonate with people in low- and middle-income countries.
For those interested in reading more on CHW certification, try this CHW Central link to see what is currently available: https://www.chwcentral.org/search/node/Certification
To read more about state approaches to certification and CHW leadership in certification processes in the US try:
I hope these are helpful and informative.
HIFA profile: Rebecca Furth is a public health specialist and cultural anthropologist. She is a Senior Technical Advisor at Initiatives Inc., USA and Technical Manager for www.CHWCentral.org. Her professional interests include human resources for health, community health worker program strengthening, organizational development, health systems strengthening, and culture and development. She is a member of the HIFA working group on CHWs. http://www.hifa.org/support/members/rebecca-0 rfurth AT initiativesinc.com