Despite the recognized potential of Community Health Workers and case management approaches that extend beyond established health facilities, many programs remain under-funded by donors and countries. A new task force seeks to address this challenge.
Pneumonia, diarrhea, and malaria account for more than one-third of all child deaths, but access to effective treatment remains low – especially for the most vulnerable groups of newborns, children, and pregnant mothers. Integrated Community Case Management of childhood illness (iCCM) enables Community Health Workers to treat these vulnerable groups as a compliment to services at the health facility. Yet despite the potential impact of this intervention, iCCM and Community Health Worker programs remain under-funded by most donors and countries. In order to tackle the funding opportunity and mobilize resources, UNICEF – along with USAID, the One Million Community Health Worker Campaign, Save the Children, the American Red Cross, MCHIP, the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI), and the Office of the UN Special Envoy for Financing of the Health MDGs – have established a highly-focused ‘Financing Task Team’ for iCCM and Community Health Worker programs.
The Financing Task Team will work intensively to ensure countries receive Technical Assistance in the coming months to complete iCCM gap analyses and concept notes for the Global Fund’s New Funding Model Process, whose first submissions are in May and June 2014. In doing so, the Financing Task Team will coordinate with Roll Back Malaria’s Harmonization Working Group, the RMNCH Strategy and Coordination Team, the Global Fund, additional donors, implementers, the regional offices of multilaterals, and country ‘shepherds’ for iCCM and child health. The Financing Task Team is closely linked with the Community Case Management Task Force (an interagency task force focused on coordination around iCCM programs, led by WHO, UNICEF, USAID, and Save the Children) as well as the Diarrhea and Pneumonia Working Group, which is co-led by CHAI and UNICEF and is focused on scaling up coverage of pneumonia and diarrhea commodities. The team will provide monthly updates to the CHW PLUS Steering Committee, a group of top leaders from more than ten donor agencies, multilaterals, and non-profit organizations. The CHW PLUS Steering Committee is focused on enhancing financing for CHW programs, removing bottlenecks to scale up at a country level, and marshaling evidence to support higher levels of impact.