Community health workers in humanitarian settings
Citation: Miller NP, Ardestani FB, Dini HS, et al. Community health workers in humanitarian settings: Scoping review. Journal of Global Health. 2020;10(2):020602.
What is this? The COVID-19 pandemic is placing a strain on healthcare resources, services and workers. Research on the role of community-based primary health workers in delivering services to populations in humanitarian settings might provide useful information for policy makers.
In this scoping review, the authors searched for studies that investigated the role of community health workers in delivering health or nutrition services in low- or middle-income countries (particularly in conflict-related settings or disease outbreak settings). They did not restrict their searches by date or language of publication and did the search in October 2018. They included 219 documents (181 of which were journal articles), which were from Africa (84), Eastern Mediterranean (63) and South-East Asia (4).
What was found: Community health workers are able to provide services during acute and protracted crises, carrying out critical emergency response activities, although they might suffer from security threats and psychological trauma.
Communities that do not have local health workers are likely to experience reduced access to services, especially when travel is limited.
Engagement of local communities and leaders seems crucial for improving trust, acceptance and high use of services provided by community health workers.
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