Close-to-community providers of health care: increasing evidence of how to bridge community and health systems

Theobald S., Hawkins K., Kok M., Rashid S., Datiko D.G. and Taegtmeyer M. (2016) Close-to-community providers of health care: increasing evidence of how to bridge community and health systems, Human Resources for Health (2016) 14:32

The recent thematic series on close-to-community providers published in this journal brings together 14 papers from a variety of contexts and that use a range of research methods. The series clearly illustrates the renewed emphasis and excitement about the potential of close-to-community (CTC) providers in realising universal health coverage and supporting the sustainable development goals. This editorial discusses key themes that have emerged from this rich and varied set of papers and reflect on the implications for evidence-based programming. We are at a critical stage in the development of CTC programming and policy which requires the creation and communication of new knowledge to ensure the safety, sustainability, quality and accessibility of services, and their links with both the broader health system and the communities that CTCs serve.