Community Health Workers

Drawing on years of health sector experience in Liberia, Last Mile Health recently supported the Liberia Ministry of Health and its partners to design a National Community Health Assistant (CHA) Program to serve the country’s remote communities.

In partnership with local government, Last Mile Health recruits, trains, equips, manages, and pays professionalized community health workers (called CHAs under Liberia’s national program) to provide primary healthcare to their fellow community members living at the last mile.

Community Health and Disease Surveillance

The first module of the curriculum is focused on promoting good health and preventing the spread of infectious disease. Skills associated with this module include:

  • Household registration and community mapping
  • Early identification and reporting of infectious disease “trigger events”
  • Routine household visits to record births, deaths, and population movement
  • Promotion of health-seeking behavior, including Ebola prevention

Reproductive, Maternal, and Neonatal Health

Community health workers learn to promote the health of mothers and neonates through:

– Pregnancy tracking and timely referral for antenatal care and facility-based delivery
– Identification of and referral for danger signs in pregnancy
– Home visits, education, and support for newborn care
– Identification and referral for “danger signs” in neonates, including sepsis
– Counseling on family planning and distribution of condoms and oral contraceptive pills

Child Health

In an effort to eliminate under-five child mortality in Liberia, community health workers are trained to provide:

  • Monthly routine home visits to each household in the community to provide health education, identify children who may be ill or malnourished, and track the vaccination status of all children
  • Diagnosis and treatment for malaria, diarrhea, and acute respiratory infection (ARI)
  • Identification of and referral for “danger signs” of serious illness in children
  • Counseling for caregivers on the importance of childhood vaccinations, proper nutrition, and health-promoting sanitation and hygiene practices

Adult Health

Community health workers support the health of adults in their communities through:

– Community education on prevention of HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis (TB), and Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs)
– Home visits to support patients living with HIV/AIDS and TB, and tracing of patients lost-to-follow-up
– Messaging and community mobilization to reduce stigma around HIV/AIDS, TB, and NTDs
– Provision of basic First Aid