A community health working in India speaking to a woman and her daughter
caption Credit: DFID/Lucy Milmo (CC BY 2.0)

Community Health Workers

The Community Health Workers (CHW) Thematic Working Group (TWG) supports the generation, synthesis and communication of evidence on the roll out and functioning of community health worker programs to enable learning across geographical and political contexts.

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

CHW programs 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 to strengthen delivery of health services through tailoring them 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 CHW programs are potentially effective interventions. However, we have minimal information on the conditions that make a program work in different contexts. There is a need for evidence on the costs of CHW programs and the interventions that strengthen their functioning which respond to the challenges being faced in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).

Research on how to integrate these workers into the larger health system; manage, coordinate and incentivize CHWs; and monitor and evaluate the impacts of these programs is crucial for guiding decision-makers. The CHW TWG brings together academics, policy makers and people implementing programs to share, explore and understand the existing evidence base and generate new knowledge to ensure that CHW programs are accessible, equitable and efficient.

Objectives

  • Raise awareness of the crucial role that CHWs play within the health system.
  • Bring together 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 CHWs and community groups within these dialogues.

Activities

Key activities include supporting dialogue online, for example, by hosting webinars; organizing biennial international symposia on CHWs; arranging events, for example at the Global Symposium on Health Systems Research; facilitating learning across the group, such as through webinars; supporting research; and publishing and evidence translation into products, which meet the needs of diverse audiences.

Our networks and platforms:

  • CHW Central
    CHW Central is an online community of practice that brings together program managers, experts, practitioners, researchers, and supporters of CHW programs.
  • HIFA (Healthcare Information for All)
    HIFA is a global health network with more than 18,000 members (health workers, librarians, publishers, researchers, policymakers).
  • Community Health Systems Community of Practice
    An ‘open space’ in terms of both contribution and access to knowledge, it aims at gathering practitioners, policymakers, researchers, program implementers and other experts actively involved in the technical or policy development of community health programs in LMICs.
News and views

News and views

Access the latest blog posts and news items from the Community Health Workers TWG.

Read more

Facilitators

Kingsley Chikaphupha

Kingsley Chikaphupha

Co-Chair

David Musoke

David Musoke

Co-Chair

Sarita Panday

Sarita Panday

Communications Coordinator

Faye Moody

Faye Moody

Coordinator

Kingsley Chikaphupha

Kingsley Chikaphupha

Co-Chair

Kingsley Chikaphupha is a determined young researcher and aspiring consultant devout in service to humanity, passionate for his job and career, always eager to address new challenges. He is passionate about human resources for health, especially working with CHWs, equity, reproductive health, effectively addressing HIVand AIDS, and the promotion and protection of human rights for all. Kingsley holds a BSc in Public Health with 12 years of experience in research and working with CHWs. He works as research coordinator at the Research for Equity and Community Health (REACH) Trust, Malawi.

David Musoke

David Musoke

Co-Chair

David Musoke is a lecturer at Makerere University School of Public Health, Uganda. He holds a BS in Environmental Health Sciences from Makerere University, an MSc in International Primary Health Care from University of London, and a PhD in Public Health from Cardiff Metropolitan University. David has carried out vast research among CHWs in Uganda including using photovoice. He is the Uganda lead for the partnership with Nottingham Trent University that is supporting CHWs in the country. David spearheaded the 1st International Symposium on Community Health Workers held in Kampala in February 2017 that attracted over 450 participants from 22 countries.

Sarita Panday

Sarita Panday

Communications Coordinator

Sarita Panday (BSc Nursing, MPH, MHM, PhD), a Global Challenge Fellow at the University of Sheffield, works in collaboration with Kathmandu University in Nepal. She has dedicated her research to improving basic healthcare for the neediest population, especially that of pregnant women and mothers. Sarita has worked with different groups of CHWs in remote regions of Nepal. Her doctorate degree explored the role of female community health volunteers in maternal health improvement in Nepal. She received a prestigious 2018-2019 Developing Asia Health Policy Postdoctoral Fellowship at Stanford University, where she worked to publish her work to support CHWs in South Asia. She is currently using participatory research approaches to train community members to improve maternal and child health care among marginalized populations in rural Nepal.

Faye Moody

Faye Moody

Coordinator

Faye Moody is an experienced programme administrator at Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine currently working on Reachout, an European Union-funded international research project to help understand and develop the role of close-to-community providers of health care in preventing, diagnosing, and treating major illnesses and health conditions in rural and urban areas in six countries in Africa and Asia. Faye is experienced in supporting health system strengthening projects, works with partners throughout Africa and Asia, and has an interest in using social media and other online platforms in research uptake and knowledge translation.

Publications and resources

This supplement is constituted of 100 abstracts which were among those presented at the symposium, which was held in February 2017.

The Global Burden of Disease (GBD) study provides a unique comprehensive framework to systematically assess national trends in age-specific and sex-specific all-cause and cause-specific mortality.

Promoting Mental Health and Wellbeing with Men and Boys: What Works?

Centre for Men’s Health Institute for Health and Wellbeing Leeds Beckett University

In May 2014, the Movember Foundation commissioned the Centre for Men’s Health, Leeds Beckett University, in collaboration with the Men’s Health Forum (England and Wales), to gather the current research evidence and practical (‘tacit’) knowledge about the core elements that make for successful work with boys and men around mental health promotion, early intervention and stigma reduction.