Community Health Workers and Volunteers: The Most Effective Path to UHC

5 April, 2019

With thanks to Global Health Now. First part of article below. Full text here: https://www.globalhealthnow.org/2019-04/community-health-workers-and-vol...

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Paid or volunteer?

Community health workers are on the frontlines in many countries—and vital to achieving universal health coverage. Yet the public health community has not reached a consensus on which model is the best.

Consensus is urgently needed, both at the global and country levels, to inform future policies and strategies for strengthening health systems and delivering on UHC.

Based on our experiences in rural Peru and Ethiopia, it’s not either-or. It’s both.

Full-time, paid CHWs form the backbone of family- and community-based services, but there aren’t enough to reach all families. We envision teams of government-paid, full-time CHWs providing comprehensive services to a given population, with a primary health center hub as the base of operations. Each CHW, in turn, would lead a team of part-time community health volunteers providing limited health education and referral services—such as maternal and newborn health, nutrition, hygiene, tuberculosis, malaria, and HIV/AIDS—to a small number of neighboring families.

While paid health workers can do the “heavy lifting” in providing a comprehensive package of services, the volunteers can provide limited, but valuable, preventive and promotional services, such as home visits to vulnerable families or facilitating peer support groups of nursing or pregnant women...

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Best wishes, Neil

Coordinator, HIFA Project on Community Health Workers

http://www.hifa.org/projects/community-health-workers

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HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of the HIFA global health campaign (Healthcare Information For All - www.hifa.org ), a global community with more than 19,000 members in 177 countries, interacting on six global forums in four languages. Twitter: @hifa_org FB: facebook.com/HIFAdotORG neil@hifa.org