Photo: Rebecca Weaver/MSH
This issue highlights community health and community health workers, and presents a glimpse of MSH's work at the community level, in partnership with national ministries of health, civil society organizations, the private sector, and more.
The community is the center of the health system in developing countries.
Throughout sub-Saharan Africa, community health workers, often volunteers, represent the foundation of the health system, addressing priority health areas ranging from maternal and newborn health to family planning and infection prevention. The community health worker (known by different names in different countries) is the fundamental frontline promoter, provider of services and medicines (through integrated community case management), and the one who refers and links beneficiaries with more complex health needs to facilities. Not only do community health workers extend access to health services for the underserved and those living in hard-to-reach or conflict-ridden areas, they help countries accelerate certain health outcomes and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and related targets for universal health coverage.
But community health workers cannot be successful in achieving these health outcomes alone: Successful service delivery and effective human resources for health require that other aspects of the health system are bolstered and well-functioning.
Are you working at the community level? How is your country responding to these challenges? Read and comment on these stories on MSH.org