Support Community Health Workers

Community Health Workers are vital to health systems and to staving off global health crises. We can do more to support these essential partners in delivering front-line health.

Community Health Workers

In many parts of the world, millions of children and mothers suffer or die unnecessarily from preventable and treatable diseases because they have limited or no access to basic aspects of modern medicine – clinics and hospitals are simply too far away.  This is where Community Health Workers (CHWs) come in: A CHW who is properly trained, equipped, supervised and motivated can diagnose and treat many of the most common causes of suffering and death – providing access to care for remote populations  and helping countries reach the health targets of Agenda 2030. But many CHWs are unable to reach their full potential due to insufficient funding for training and for the medicines and diagnostics that CHWs carry.  Variations in standards and poor connectivity to health systems also undermine CHW performance. In such cases, not only are CHWs unable to provide effective care for the top killers of children, they are also under-prepared to provide support for pregnant women and newborns.

The Office of the Special Envoy is focused on building capacity at Ministries of Health through the Aspen Management Partnership for Health (AMP Health) and improving the availability of financing for community health through the Financing Support Unit (FSU) to improve community health systems in and across countries.

The Aspen Management Partnership for Health is a collaboration between partners across sectors, including the private sector, non-governmental organizations, donors, academia, and Ministries of Health. AMP Health addresses the root causes of sub-optimal health services at the community level. Working with countries that have a bold vision for their community health systems, the partnership provides a menu of support to Ministries of Health to strengthen management and leadership capacity. Through the AMP Health platform, partners actively problem solve across a range of real-time community health systems challenges and collaborate with local and global experts to bring together cross-sectoral perspectives and implement solutions.

The Community Health Financing Support Unit (FSU) is a new partnership hosted at the Ethiopian International Institute for Primary Care. FSU aims to help governments design and fund ambitious, affordable, and at-scale community health programs (as part of integrated primary care), in part by finding innovative financing pathways and investments opportunities.  The creation of the FSU stems from recommendations put forward by a distinctive group of global health leaders—including H.E. Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn of Ethiopia, H.E. President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia, UN Special Envoy Ray Chambers, Dr. Tim Evans of the World Bank Group, Joy Phumaphi of the African Leaders Malaria Alliance, Dr. Paul Farmer of Partners in Health, Dr. Chelsea Clinton of The Clinton Foundation, and Jeff Walker of the Global Health Alliance—at the 2015 Financing for Development Conference in Addis Ababa.  These recommendations called on international institutions and governments to make funding more available for community health and also to create a financing support unit to help countries gain access to new and existing funding streams, beginning with community health. UNICEF, Partners in Health, Last Mile Health, the World Bank Group, Johns Hopkins University, the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI), and the Global Health Alliance are all core partners driving forward this work.