The Ethiopia Federal Ministry of Health invited us to upskill up to 5,000 community health workers, known locally as health extension workers, through the design and deployment of high-quality digital training in order to optimize the delivery of quality primary healthcare.
The Ethiopia Health Extension Worker Program was launched in 2004 to transform access to primary healthcare for Ethiopians, particularly those living in rural and remote areas. The program has been cited as an exemplar for its work to advance universal basic healthcare and deliver preventive and curative services to the country’s largely rural population. However, the country faces challenges in ensuring the community health workforce has access to high-quality in-service or refresher training to ensure the delivery of high quality care, both during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
Through this partnership, we will work closely with the Ministry of Health and local partners to design and deploy an integrated and digitized in-service training for community health workers, starting with a module on reproductive, maternal, newborn, and child health. The approach will be piloted in up to 20 districts with evidence-based field testing, and could be scaled up to 100 districts—reaching more than 5,000 community health workers. As the program demonstrates effectiveness, it has the potential to model improved in-service training for all 40,000 community health workers.
This work builds off the successful launch of the COVID-19 Ethiopia Health Worker Training Platform in May 2020. The Community Health Academy at Last Mile Health partnered with the Ministry of Health and the Ethiopian Public Health Institute to develop and launch the Ministry’s first-ever digital learning platform, which is training community and frontline health workers with high-quality educational content on coronavirus. More than 2,353 health sector professionals have viewed modules on the platform to date.