Community health workers (CHWs) have been shown to play a major role within health systems, especially in fragile and conflict-affected settings (FCAS). Additionally, COVID-19 has revealed specific inequities within health systems in FCAS.
To narrow the gaps more effectively in the future, the following issues need to be addressed. First, improved integration between CHW programmes and the wider health systems is needed to maximise the benefits of this partnership. Second, future-proofing health systems will benefit from the flexibility of roles of CHWs in changing contexts. Third, CHW programmes in conflict-related contexts need to be able to work in contested political contexts. Finally, FCAS may present particular challenges for the mental health of both the population and those providing support, including CHWs.
If the above-mentioned areas can be addressed, CHWs will have a greater role in future-proofing health systems in FCAS.
1. Chair-cum-scene-setting presenter: Sally Theobald
2. Integration between formal and informal CHWs/programmes and the formal/wider health system in FCAS contexts: Mushtaq Khan, Health Advisor, IRC in South Asia and MENA
3. The comparative agility/flexibility of the CHW cadre in FCAS contexts: Jo Raven (ReBUILD/ReBUILD for Resilience)
4. The difficulty for CHWs (and supporting agencies) working in contested political contexts in FCAS: Saw Nay Htoo, Director of Burma Medical Association
5. ‘Supporting community-based psychosocial mobile teams in North East Nigeria’: Andreas Loepsinger and Olga Rebolledo, IOM