Review of Literature : Community Health Workers
By: Beverly Antonio
Community health workers (CHW) play an essential role in providing basis health care services to underserved populations. The United Nations Sustainable Goals include good health and well-being for the people of the world. The goal of achieving a reduction in premature deaths due to non-communicable deaths by one-third by the year 2030 will necessitate the cooperation and collaboration of various stakeholders. Health care systems and health care practitioners, local, state, and federal governments, and non-governmental organizations must work with members of the community willing and able to help translate goals into actions. On January 28, 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) released a resolution supporting the use of community health worker’s roles in delivering primary health care. The WHO has developed guidelines to support nations in their creation and investment in a community-based workforce. The WHO encourages a diverse mix of community health workers and mid-level health workers to work in conjunction with health care professionals to best address the health care needs of communities. They encourage health care delivery systems to improve the design, implementation, interventions, and evaluations of CHWs to optimize their contributions to universal health coverage. CHWs are often the first link in the health care chain of services. They play an important part in achieving health care equity among all populations as well as fulfilling a social service role. However, the vital work done by these individuals cannot be accomplished without acknowledging their important contributions and by empowering them in their roles. They must be facilitated in communicating and interacting with the health care systems, provided support and all necessary resources, educated, trained, and properly supervised, and provided appropriate and stable remuneration. CHWs are unable to effectively serve their communities when they find themselves in a precarious employment situation. CHWs cannot empower communities unless they, too, are empowered.