Evidence synthesis: Health policy and system support to WHO to optimise community health worker programs

Community health workers deliver national health initiatives or run small, community-based programs in every corner of the world. Some are volunteers, others are remunerated for their work. Some deliver support services in clinics or homes.

Working with a team of international researchers from Aga Khan University in Pakistan, the University of Toronto in Canada and Universities in Australia, CEI synthesised the existing research on how to train, support and develop community health workers. The team conducted 15 full systematic reviews, exploring key questions at the heart of community health work such as: How should community health workers be paid? How should they be selected for training? Should they be responsible for collecting data? Do they benefit from regular supervision?

WHO's ‘Guideline on health policy and system support to optimize community health worker programmes' was launched on October 26 during the Global Conference on Primary Healthcare in Astana, Kazakhstan. An abridged version of the Guideline, co-authored by ex CEI Research Associate Bianca Albers and Senior Advisor David Taylor, was published in The Lancet Global Health and can be accessed online on the Lancet site here.

CEI is thrilled to have been able to use its expertise, in partnership with leading local and global universities and research institutions, on this important project and to see our work put into policy and practice through a close collaboration with WHO and the launch of the Guide.

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