Retention of female volunteer community health workers in Dhaka urban slums: a prospective cohort study

Volunteer community health workers (CHWs) are a key approach to improving community-based maternal and child health services in developing countries. BRAC, a large Bangladeshi non-governmental organisation, has employed female volunteer CHWs in its community-based health programs since 1977, recently including its Manoshi project, a community-based maternal and child health intervention in the urban slums of… Read more

How equitable are community health worker programmes?

There are dramatic differences in mortality and life expectancy between and within countries. Disadvantaged groups have poorer survival chances and use facility-based services less than other groups. Community health services are an opportunity to improve this situation and create a pathway to Universal Health Coverage (UHC). Community Health Workers (CHWs) can improve equitable child survival,… Read more

How equitable are community health worker programmes and which programme features influence equity of community health worker services? A systematic review

Community health workers (CHWs) are uniquely placed to link communities with the health system, playing a role in improving the reach of health systems and bringing health services closer to hard-to-reach and marginalised groups. A systematic review was conducted to determine the extent of equity of CHW programmes and to identify intervention design factors which… Read more

Thinking healthy: a manual for psychosocial management of perinatal depression

This manual provides simple instructions on how to integrate the management of perinatal depression into the work of a community health worker. The Thinking Healthy approach is based on some general principles that must be observed for the successful integration and delivery of the intervention. These principles should be emphasised throughout training and supervision, and include: moving… Read more

Cost-effectiveness of village health workers

This report reviews the evidence of the cost effectiveness of village health workers. It found that the literature tends to use the term community health workers (CHWs) generally to encompass village health workers and other regional variations of a similar role. The reviews on this topic often use the term broadly where country programs operate… Read more

One million community health workers. Technical task force report.

This technical taskforce report focuses on providing broad cost guidance, deployment strategy and operational design considerations for Community Health Worker (CHW) subsystems as part of health system strengthening to achieve the MDGs in Africa. These considerations are summarised in the following 5 themes: Tight linkages with appropriately-financed local primary health care systems are crucial to… Read more

Improving the performance of community health workers: What can be learned from the literature?

Many countries are now attempting to roll out and scale up Community Health Worker (CHW) programmes. CHWs provide a wide range of health services. They are community-based workers who are trained, but have no formal professional or paraprofessional certificate. We conducted a systematic review of the literature to find out how intervention design can influence… Read more

Implications of the community health policy change in Kenya in light of world health worker week #WHWWeek

Kenya’s community health strategy (2006) expounds the country’s plan to expand access to community health care for the whole population, through two close-to-community providers:  community health workers (CHWs) (community selected community members who carry out a range of activities at household level) and community health extension workers (CHEWs) (government selected workers who supervise CHWs among… Read more

Empowerment of communities and individuals for greater health self-reliance

Current levels of human resources are not enough to meet the health Millennium Development Goals and Universal Health Coverage. There is growing recognition that human resources beyond a trained health workforce can be considered as ‘assets’ and be utilised to achieve these goals. Community Health Workers (CHWs) and other Front-Line Health Workers can provide a… Read more

Developing and Strengthening Community Health Worker Programs at Scale. A Reference Guide for Program Managers and Policy Makers.

The current enthusiasm for large-scale community health workers (CHWs) needs to be tempered with a sobering reflection on the disappointments that followed a similar wave of enthusiasm in the 1970s and 1980s, noting challenges in scaling up and sustaining large-scale public sector CHW programs. Large-scale public sector CHW programs are complex entities that require adapting… Read more