Community health worker programmes in the WHO African region Policy brief
The 2013 Third Global Forum on Human Resources for Health concluded that CHWs and other frontline primary health care workers “play a unique role and can be essential to accelerating MDGs and achieving UHC”, and called for their integration into national health systems. The Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak of 2014–2015 highlighted the imperative of ensuring the functioning of the health systems at the community level for both their day-to-day resilience and disaster preparedness.
The purpose of this policy brief is to inform discussions and decisions in the World Health Organization (WHO) African Region on policies, strategies and programmes to increase access to primary health care (PHC) services and make progress towards universal health coverage (UHC) by expanding the implementation of scaled-up CHW programmes. This brief summarizes the existing evidence on CHW programmes with a focus on sub-Saharan Africa and offers a number of context linked policy options for countries seeking to scale up and improve the effectiveness of their CHW programmes, particularly with regard to needs such as those of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, the three countries that were the most affected by the 2014–2015 EVD outbreak.