Maternal psychosocial concerns, which include depression, anxiety, and psychosocial problems in the home such as intimate partner violence (IPV), serve as significant risk factors to healthy child development. In their daily work, Community Health Workers (CHWs) commonly encounter families experiencing these problems, but on the whole CHW trainings don’t include any comprehensive training in these areas. Research has found that CHWs can be trained in simple psychosocial interventions which are found to be effective in reducing symptoms of maternal depression and anxiety, in addition to the distress related to IPV. In turn, such interventions play a role in enhancing children’s health and development.
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This is the ninth chapter of the CHW Reference Guide produced under the Maternal and Child Health Integrated Program, the United States Agency for International Development Bureau for Global Health’s flagship maternal, neonatal and child health project.
To be effective workers, CHWs need specific competencies and skills. This chapter focuses on how these competencies can be best acquired and ways in which this training can be most effectively organized. The author, Ian Aitken, provides an excellent overview of the key elements of CHW training. As the author notes, this training is not fixed on the basis of an unchangeable blueprint, but rather one that needs to be adapted to: