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News article 15 Feb 2017
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Who is a community health worker?

Community health worker conducting survey in Korali slum, Bangladesh

CMNH undertook a systematic literature review to explore common themes in the definition of a community health worker (CHW) across several countries, as well as the amount and scope of pre-service training given. 

The review analysed definitions of and requirements of CHWs found in 119 academic papers from 25 countries across 7 regions. It provides a valuable insight into the training and definitions of CHWs and aids a common understanding among policy makers, program planners and researchers working with CHWs in different settings.

CHWs were categorised based on the level of education, pre-service training and remuneration. CHWs have received standardised job-related training of a shorter duration than health professionals, and are expected to provide a culturally appropriate health service as they have an in-depth understanding of the community culture and language.

As lay health workers or paraprofessionals are increasingly playing a vital role in the provision of basic health services it is essential policy makers, program planners and researchers working with CHWs in different settings have a common understanding of the role and what it encompasses.

Read the full article 'Who is a community worker? - a systematic review of definitions