Supporting and Strengthening the Role of Community Health Workers in Health System Development

The goal of this Thematic Working Group is to support the generation, synthesis and communication of evidence on the roll out and functioning of community health worker programmes and to enable learning across geographical and political contexts.

Key Activities

Setting the scene 

National and international decision-makers are once again turning to community health workers to strengthen health systems in the context of the push towards universal access and delivery of the Millennium Development Goals.

Community health worker programmes rely on staff who live and work at the community level, engaging with people in their own dwellings or workplaces. This means that there is true potential for these services to strengthen delivery of health services through tailoring services to meet the needs and realities of individuals and households, and making more appropriate links between community service and the formal health system.

Systematic reviews show that community health worker programmes are potentially effective interventions. However we have minimal information on the conditions that make aprogramme work in different contexts. There is a need for evidence on the costs of community health worker programmes and the interventions which strengthen their functioning which respond to the challenges being faced in low and middle-income countries. 

Research on how to - integrate these workers into the larger health system, manage, coordinate and incentivise community health workers, and monitor and evaluate the impacts of these programmes - is crucial for guiding decision makers. The Thematic Working Group (TWG) brings together academics, policy makers and people implementing programmes to share, explore and understand the existing evidence base and generate new knowledge to ensure that community health worker programmes are accessible, equitable and efficient.

Objectives

Our objectives are to:

  • Raise awareness of the crucial role that community health workers play within the health system

  • Bring together a diverse individuals and networks to share knowledge in a structured and facilitated manner

  • Convene practitioners and decision-makers in order to better understand the real world challenges being faced and encourage the use of the existing and emerging evidence base in policy and practice

  • Promote an institutionalized practice of monitoring interventions and evaluating results by all decision-makers and practitioners

  • Amplify the voices of community health workers and community groups within these dialogues

This work includes: supporting dialogue online; arranging events, for example at the Global Symposium on Health Systems; facilitating learning across the group, for example through webinars; supporting research; and publishing and evidence translation into products, which meet the needs of diverse audiences.

Group facilitators

  • Lilian Otiso

    Co-Chair of Thematic Working Group
  • Diana Frymus

    Co-Chair of Thematic Working Group
  • Faye Moody

    Coordinator of Thematic Working Group
  • Kate Hawkins

    Coordinator of Thematic Working Group

New sponsored discussion on HIFA: CHW data for decision making

For the month of September, the One Million Community Health Workers (1mCHW) Campaign and mPowering Frontline Health Workers are supporting HIFA to hold an in-depth exploration around the need for improved data on community health worker (CHW) programs, and how we can meet these needs in the post-2015 era. Please click the link below to find out more and join the discussion on the HIFA website: www.hifa2015.org

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Get involved

The CHW Hub (http://chwcentral.org/chwhub) is a product of the partnership between CHW Central and the Supporting and Strengthening the Role of Community Health Workers in Health System Development TWG. Over the next 12 months, the TWG community of academics, policy makers and people implementing programs will populate the CHW Hub with blogs, relevant research and important announcements.  

You can also join our group discussions on LinkedIn.

Join our group