Coronavirus (274) Rapid evidence synthesis to inform preparedness of community health workers for COVID-19

31 March, 2020

Dear all,

The George Institute for Global Health has conducted a rapid evidence synthesis to inform plans and resources to ensure preparedness of community health workers for COVID-19. You can download the findings here [, or see the report attached [*see note below].

Hope this is useful.

Best wishes,


Emma Feeny

Head of Global Advocacy

The George Institute for Global Health

1st Floor | Hayes House | University of Oxford

75 George Street | Oxford OX1 2BQ | United Kingdom

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HIFA profile: Emma Feeny is Senior Advocacy Advisor at the George Institute for Global Health in the UK. efeeny AT

[*Note from HIFA moderator (Neil PW): HIFA doesn't carry attachments but the full text is avaiolable at the above URL. I note that the work was led by Soumyadeep Bhaumik, who was HIFA Country Representative of the Year for 2012 and is clearly going from strength to strength! For the benefit of those who may not have immediate access, here are the key issues which decision-makers need to consider, based on available evidence:

- FLHWs will be at an increased risk of COVID-19, even in the course of their normal activities. It is essential to provide personal protective equipment (gloves, surgical masks, hand sanitisers; N95 masks if involved in contact tracing) in adequate quantity. This should be accompanied by training on proper usage in the early phase itself.

- Disruption in supply-chain, logistics and supportive supervision might be expected and this would impact routine service delivery. Advice should be given on which activities are to continue and which might be postponed. Guidelines and protocols for conducting additional activities and training is required.

- Engaging FLHWs who continue to perform routine service delivery in additional contact identification and listing, is not without its risk including that of transmission of COVID-19. A role focussed on creating awareness and support for prevention and countering social stigma is recommended for FLHWs.

- FLHWs might experience stigmatisation, isolation and been socially ostracised. Providing psychosocial support, non-performance-based incentives, additional transport allowance, child-care support should be planned. Awards and recognition are required for motivation.

- Social distancing related measures might not be appropriate in many contexts like urban slums, large/joint families, those living in small houses and the homeless.]