After months of planning and partnership, Last Mile Health and the Sierra Leone Ministry of Health and Sanitation have completed the first phase of training of Sierra Leone’s first nationally-supported, fully-integrated community health worker program. With a cadre of 8,700 prospective community health workers recruited across the country, training took place in eight districts in June, using a curriculum revised with Last Mile Health’s support.
“There are no health services in our numerous communities throughout the catchment region,” says new community health worker Mohammed S. Kamara, from Konoba town, Neya chiefdom. “If we, the community health workers, work alongside the health professionals, the health system in this country will benefit.”
To build a strong foundation for training and supervision, Last Mile Health and the Ministry first trained master trainers, followed by lead facilitators and quality assurance officers. Today, approximately 200 trainers are based at their own sites to facilitate trainings, with quality assurance officers rotating among sites to ensure consistency in content and implementation.
The new cadre of community health workers represents an enormous opportunity for Sierra Leone’s health system. For the first time, community health workers will be supported by consistent supervision and feedback as well as data monitoring and evaluation designed by Last Mile Health. They will provide a fully-integrated package of essential primary health services–from maternal and child health to malaria screening to the treatment of communicable diseases–in rural and remote communities where care has previously been out of reach.
“The integration of the community health worker will play a significant role in providing access to health services to citizens of Sierra Leone who would otherwise not have access,” says Anuoluwa Ishola, Last Mile Health’s Sierra Leone program director. “The National Community Health Worker Program will contribute to bridging the gap between the health system and the community.”