News & Commentary

08 September 2015

Announcing a special article collection on community health workers

By Kate Hawkins*


One of the main purposes of the Thematic Working Group on Community Health Workers is to support the generation of evidence to inform the scale up of Community Health Worker programmes which is pragmatic and contextually embedded. To try and publish and promote good work in this area we partnered with Human Resources for Health on a thematic series. We are delighted to announce that the first papers from the article collection are out now!

What are people saying?

There are papers from a range countries about people working in quite different contexts and we also have articles which take an international or overarching approach. What seems clear is that CHW programme scale up is challenging in the face of health systems constraints and that there is no blue print approach. However, systematic and systemic interventions, for example related to human resource management or the governance of programmes is needed. Another key message is that it is important to, “put the human into human resources”, and that people-centred health systems need to understand community health workers as people with their own challenges, strengths and motivations. These can relate to incentives in the health system as well as the ways that they relate to community members and institutions. We also have a lot to learn about the costs of CHW programmes and how best to asses these.

Summary of the available papers

What next?

The thematic series is not finished yet and will run for some time to come. So look out for new papers and the editorial which brings together learning on what has been published so far. We have also asked some of the authors to tell us a bit more about their work. So expect blogs and other communications from the Group over the coming months.


* Kate Hawkins is Director of Pamoja Communications. She also works for the REACHOUT Consortium and is the secretary of the Health Systems Global Thematic Working Group on Community Health Workers.

Photo credit: Pippa Ranger / Department for International Development


Archived comments

Lilian Otiso 08 September 2015 at 08:35

Great work. Community Health Workers are key to achieving universal access and addressing primary health care needs across the globe. The evidence clearly demonstrates the cost effectiveness and value in attaining equity and gender goals. Thank you HSG for an opportunity to share the important work of partners on CHWs across the globe