Community Health Workers (CHWs) were crucial in mounting an effective response to the recent Ebola outbreak in West Africa, a study led by UNICEF and published in the Journal of Global Health shows.
The study highlighted how, as known and trusted community members, CHWs could often carry out Ebola-related work more effectively than outside workers.
If they were given clear guidance and supplied with drugs, many CHWs kept working during the Ebola outbreak to provide essential health services, despite the inherent challenges of an outbreak in resource-constrained settings.
To more effectively respond to future emergencies, CHWs should be at the forefront of emergency planning and response, and be properly supported to strengthen service delivery.
“The West Africa Ebola outbreak highlighted the importance of CHWs during crises. As a crucial link between the health system and the community, engagement of CHWs enabled the governments and humanitarian actors to overcome the high levels of fear and mistrust and allowed for more effective emergency response and continuation of essential health services.”
– Nate Miller, UNICEF
The full study is available here: