The George Institute for Global Health and the Thematic Working Group on Community Health Workers (CHWs) of Health Systems Global have collaborated on a survey to assess the availability of resources that support the mental wellbeing of CHWs in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The unfolding crisis is overwhelming health systems globally, and CHWs who are engaged in contact tracing, transport, screening, and follow-up of patients with COVID-19 are at risk of developing psychological distress and mental illness symptoms.
CHWs may be confronted with an enormous case load, a mounting patient death toll, shortages in personal protective equipment (and coinciding risk to personal wellbeing and risk of spreading the disease at home) uncertainty in how to best treat patients with a novel disease, stigmatisation, and a constantly shifting political landscape.
CHWs are usually part of the informal workforce and are disproportionately female; many must therefore confront these challenges while continuing to manage family responsibilities and paid work.
In this context, our survey aims to identify the particular challenges facing CHWs in LMICs and to assess what resources are available to help them manage symptoms of anxiety, depression, and broader mental distress during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The survey is now closed.
Image credit: © 2020 The George Institute for Global Health