News & Commentary

12 January 2016

Community Health Workers (CHW) for Achieving Universal Health Coverage: Experience in using evidence to guide decision-making for CHW programs - #CHWs4UHC

by Kate Hawkins*

The Prince Mahidol Award Conference will take place in Thailand from the 26-31 January and is organized around the theme of decision making for Universal Health Coverage (UHC). They note:

“Universal health coverage (UHC) is high on the global agenda as a means to ensure population health, equity and social development. In most countries where current access to essential health care is limited, introducing UHC prompts serious concerns among government leaders on the growing expenditures and demands for public resources. As such, priority setting is indispensable and has been applied at various levels, to ensure that finite health resources can be used in the most cost-effective ways, to provide a high quality and appropriate package of healthcare for the population.”
A focus on community health workers

We are delighted that the Thematic Working Group Supporting and Strengthening the Role of Community Health Workers on Health System Developmant, in partnership with USAID and the World Health Organization’s Global Health Workforce Alliance, will be running a session at the conference devoted to community health workers (CHWs)

The importance of CHWs**, and their contribution to health care and health promotion have garnered increasing attention from governments, donors, health systems researchers and planners within post-2015 and UHC agenda setting, and also as related to increasing focus on global health security. CHWs often work in the most underserved areas and serve as frontline health workers key for advancing services for maternal and child health and HIV/AIDS and in support of the control of other infectious diseases. In recent years, emphasis has been plac

ed on addressing identified evidence gaps for CHWs, implementing national programs and strengthening the fragmented CHW program landscape within countries. Simultaneously, across the globe, many country governments’ increased focus on CHWs has led to increased stakeholder engagement. Yet the extent to which evidence for CHWs has been used within this dialogue and the effectiveness of the participation and processes utilized by these decision making entities (e.g. national steering commitments, working groups) is unclear and have not been a focus to date.

The session will examine the extent of which evidence has been used to inform decision-making and the impact of diverse stakeholder participation in the dialogue around strengthening CHW programming for UHC and health goals in countries.


Panel
  • Dr. Jan-Walter De Neve, Harvard School of Public Health, USA

  • PEPFAR/USAID supported case studies conduct to inform decision-making to harmonize CHW investments for HIV programs in Swaziland, Mozambique, Lesotho, and South Africa

  • Lillian Otisio, LVCT Health, Kenya

  • Experience from the REACHOUT Consortium, a project working across six countries in Africa and Asia to strengthen the role of close-to-community providers of health care

  • Dr. Emma Sacks, Johns Hopkins University, USA

  • Experience in using the C3 Tool, an analytic decision-making tool, in Tanzania and Rwanda to help governments prioritize technical content for CHWs and refine strategies for investment, training and coverage

  • Department of Health Workforce, World Health Organization

  • The purpose and process of the development of WHO Guidelines on Community Based Practitioners for UHC


Find out more

The session is open to all conference participants and we hope that you will come along. If you would like to find out more please contact Diana Frymus, Health Science Specialist, USAID Washington, DC and Co-Chair.

 Follow us on Twitter: #CHWs4UHC  


* Kate Hawkins is a member of Thematic Working Group Supporting and Strengthening the Role of Community Health Workers on Health System Developmant

* * See Campbell, J et all, “Maximizing the impact of community-based practitioners in the quest for Universal Health Coverage”, Editorial, Bulletin of the World Health Organization, 93:590-50A, 2015,.


Photo: LVCT Health 



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