Video Spotlight

"'I'm a Health Worker' - Abduaraman Gidi" made by IntraHealth International.

A comprehensive description of three national community health worker programs and their contributions to maternal and child health and primary health care

This is an in-depth review of the effectiveness of CHW programs in Ethiopia, Brazil, and Nepal. The main objective of this report is to provide insight and examples of successful CHW programs for other countries that are looking to build and strengthen their own CHW programs, specifically in the maternal and child health field. 

CHW Resources

A Community Health Worker (CHW) is a public health worker that is committed to improving the quality and accessibility of healthcare and social services in a community. The CDC has compiled a webpage with resources collected from their projects across the organization related to CHWs. This page serves as an excellent resource for both CHW workers as well as people that work with CHWs.



CHW Incentives: Lessons Learned and Best Practices from Madagascar

In Madagascar 83% of the country’s 22.9 million people live in rural areas that can be difficult to access. CHWs play a crucial role in providing access to healthcare in those parts of the country that are underserved. Over 34,000 CHWs work to extend basic health services such as maternal and child health, family planning and reproductive health, nutrition, TB, and sanitation services. This study seeks to examine the influence both financial and non-financial incentives have on CHW program performance and retention in Madagascar. 

Barriers and facilitators to the implementation of lay health worker programs to improve access to maternal and child health: qualitative evidence synthesis

The chronic shortage of health workers globally is a major obstacle when trying to provide crucial health care delivery in areas of the world where it is needed the most. A way to approach this issue has been to “task shift” health professional roles to providers such as lay health workers (LHW), a “lay person” that has been trained to provide health services but is not a conventional health professional. This review seeks to assess the effectiveness of LHWs and explore factors that can influence the success of LHW programs in maternal and child health programs. 

Assessing Early Access to Care and Child Survival during a Health System Strengthening Intervention in Mali: A Repeated Cross Sectional Survey

In 2012, 6.6 million children under age five died worldwide, most from diseases with known means of prevention and treatment. A delivery gap persists between well-validated methods for child survival and equitable, timely access to those methods. A health systems strengthening intervention was implemented in peri-urban Mali designed to improve child survival by improving rapid access to prevention and treatment.

Challenges Facing Successful Scaling Up of Effective Screening for Cardiovascular Disease by Community Health Workers in Mexico and South Africa: Policy Implications

The integration of community health workers (CHWs) into primary and secondary prevention functions in health programs and services delivery in Mexico and South Africa has been demonstrated to be effective. This paper aims to identify barriers and challenges to these types of CHW programs by comparing the experiences of earlier studies with successful programs. Barriers reviewed include scale up issues, training and certification issues, integration issues, and funding gaps. The authors use this information to make policy recommendations about task-sharing CHW programs. 

Community point distribution of insecticide-treated bed nets and community health worker hang-up visits in rural Zambia: a decision-focused evaluation

In 2013, the Zambian Ministry of Health distributed over two million insecticide-treated bed nets (ITNs) using a door-to-door distribution strategy, and distributed more than six million ITNs in 2014. This research study measures attendance rates at community point distribution and examines the impact of follow-up community health worker visits on ITN retention and usage. This data has potential to inform ITN distribution strategies in Zambia. 

Balancing workload, motivation and job satisfaction in Rwanda: assessing the effect of adding family planning service provision to community health worker duties

While task shifting to CHWs is widely practiced to address healthcare provider shortages, it can add to an already heavy workload for CHWs. In order to reflect how CHWs perceive and react to their circumstances, this study combined perception and objective measures of workload to examine quality of services, worker performance, and job and client satisfaction. 

Industrial action by healthcare workers in Nigeria in 2013–2015: an inquiry into causes, consequences and control—a cross-sectional descriptive study

In the past 36 months, Nigeria has suffered several healthcare workers’ strikes, resulting in decreased access to quality healthcare for Nigerians. The researchers in this study aimed to identify the root cause(s) for these strikes and determine potential solutions. 150 Nigerian healthcare workers participated in a cross-sectional survey and questionnaire to reveal reasons for the strikes. Findings concluded that increased salaries and wages were among the most common reasons for strikes, though other issues were discussed as well. 

Community Health Workers: Bringing Family Planning Services to Where People Live and Work

This brief discusses how integrating community health worker programs into the health system can help increase access to family planning by bringing information, services, and supplies to women and men in the communities where they live and work, rather than requiring them to visit health facilities. CHWs address geographic, financial, and social barriers in regards to family planning services, which improves the health in communities in which CHWs serve. This brief makes recommendations for how to integrate CHWs into the Health System in regards to family planning. 


CHW Central is managed by Initiatives Inc. Site start-up was supported by the USAID Health Care Improvement Project in 2011.

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