Amref Health Africa

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Seventy-second World Health Assembly (A72/1)
Agenda Item: 
- Community health workers delivering primary health care: opportunities and challenges

Amref Health Africa commends the WHO guidelines on health policy and system support to optimize community health worker programmes.
We encourage the Committee to consider the recommendations and support implementation in order to maximize the contribution of community health workers to primary health care and the achievement of UHC.
Amref Health Africa commends the following recommendations:

Selection for pre-service training:
Successful pre-service selection is likely to involve more than screening formal qualifications of candidates, such as their level of education. We consider membership and acceptance by the target community of utmost importance. This should be ensured through community involvement throughout the selection processes.

We emphasize the fact that currently a large diversity of community health worker cadres are working in parallel with varying levels of coordination and support. Recruitment and selection processes should take into consideration specific criteria for those community health workers that do not necessarily fulfil formal qualifications but show strong commitment and sufficient work experience with regard to the responsibilities and scope of work that are expected from them after completing pre-service training.

Competency-based certification:
Community health workers that successfully complete pre-service training should be certified as a prove of legal recognition of their competencies. We regard certification as the pathway to formal contracting, remuneration and the availability of opportunities for career progression.

Formal integration of community health workers into national health, education, labour and economic development strategies and policies is critical for successful community health worker programmes. Integration means they need to be recognized and paid. We recommend the integration of community health workers as formal health workers cadre in the health system.