Professional community health workers—proCHWs—are a powerful force in bringing quality primary healthcare to the world’s most remote communities. To be effective, community health workers must be skilled, salaried, supervised, and supplied by a well-functioning community health system operating at national scale and integrated into broader public systems via data and financing. We call these the Six Ss. In each country where we work, we partner with ministries of health to assess which of the Ss to prioritize, and we tailor our work to advance those Ss.
In order to provide quality care to their patients, community health workers must receive standardized, effective training before they begin working—and regular refresher training to keep their skills and knowledge sharp. We partner with governments to develop, refine, and implement high-quality in-person and digital training for community health workers and their supervisors.
The training materials are on our mobile device. The video content, the drama, and the stories are fun, engaging, and motivating. It also inspires me to learn. If we have a chance to study and learn, and receive enough resources, we can have a significant impact on community health.
a frontline health worker in Oromia Region, Ethiopia
Community health workers must receive a fair salary for their work. Equitable compensation allows them to provide for their families and creates economic opportunity, especially for women in the community health workforce.
Because I am paid, I feel proud and my family and community see the importance of my work and how I am saving for my daughter’s education. I am saving for my education too.
a community health worker in Rivercess County, Liberia
Consistent supervision from qualified supervisors provides crucial support to community health workers. Supervisors offer guidance on challenging cases, ensure a high standard of care is being delivered, and resolve issues with supplies and reporting.
We support them, giving training in tools that they lack. If there is an issue, I will try to resolve it. If they are out of forms, I will try to replenish them. When we are in supervision, I look at issues of health with the community health workers. They are not working alone.
who supervises community health workers in Tonkolili, Sierra Leone
In hard-to-reach communities, patients rely on community health workers to prevent, diagnose, and treat illness. To do this, they need reliable supplies: medicine, personal protective equipment, and digital tools.
Laura takes good care of people and encourages us. She gives us medicine, and the kids get better before the medicine runs out, and we don’t have to cross the river for anything.
the mother of a patient treated by community health worker Laura Gbee in Rivercess County, Liberia
Part of a Workforce Operating at Scale
To close the distance to care, community health workers must be part of a national workforce. A strong community health program reaches all communities in a country, providing standardized and high-quality care. Nationally scaled programs bring a health worker within reach of everyone, everywhere.
Universal health coverage isn’t possible without engaging remote communities. We know that through ongoing solidarity, we will continue to make a difference in the communities across Liberia and realize the dream of achieving high-quality universal health coverage even for those in the most remote communities.
Dr. Wilhemina Jallah,
Minister of Health in Liberia
Integrated Into the Health System
In addition to delivering care to their patients, community health workers are a powerful resource in tracking outbreaks, health trends, and emerging diseases. When integrated into broader public systems through data systems, community health workers provide key insights into health needs at the community level. Ensuring they are integrated into financing systems means ensuring they can be paid fairly and on time—and that resources are allocated for their supplies and other needs so they can provide consistent, quality care.
The digital system promises the ability to closely monitor our work, quickly notify our supervisor and district teams of the problems identified and monitor and track what is happening in real time. This is something that has been a big challenge in the past.
A community health worker
from Balaka District, Malawi
TO BRING A HEALTH WORKER
WITHIN REACH OF EVERYONE,
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