How we are supporting the world health organization’s work on community health workers and what you can do

By Kate Hawkins

Back in January the Thematic Working Group on Supporting and Strengthening the role of Community Health Workers (CHWs) in Health Systems Development co-hosted a session at the Prince Mahidol Award Conference on “CHWs for Achieving UHC: Experience in using evidence to guide decision-making for CHW programs.” The event was something that we ran in partnership with USAID and the WHO Health Workforce Department. It was a step in the process of supporting WHO in their development of normative guidance on community-based practitioners.

The session examined three key areas: how evidence is used to inform decision-making; the effectiveness of different approaches to facilitate decision making and; how to support the use of evidence and capacity for decision-making in priority setting for CHWs. You can read the full report here.

Have your say

WHO have opened a public consultation on these issues, and more. The rationale behind the consultation is that,

In the last few years, there has been growing interest and attention in the potential of various types of CHWs in reducing inequities in access to essential health services, particularly in under-served or excluded, vulnerable populations. The WHO Global Strategy on Human Resources for Health: Workforce 2030 encourages countries to adopt a diverse, sustainable skills mix, harnessing the potential of community-based and mid-level health workers in inter-professional primary care teams…The support for CHWs and their integration into the health system, however, remain uneven across and within countries. This is hindering the full realization of their potential contribution to the implementation of health policies based on primary health care”

The TWG would like to encourage members of Health Systems Global to feed into this process, bringing a wide-range of evidence and experiences from a variety of different settings. Some of our members are already engaged (for example Polly Walker of World Vision is a proposed member of the Guideline Development Group).But there is more that we can do to bring our collective knowledge to bear.

WHO are asking for feedback on the relevance of the Population, Intervention, Control, Outcome (PICO) framework that they have put together for a series of systematic reviews. Please asses their relevance and support this important process. They would prefer group rather than individual submissions. I hope that you can help.

The deadline for inputs is the 31 August 2016.

Image credit: Marc WathieuCreative Commons license 2.0