Community health workers in humanitarian settings

Added March 18, 2021

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.


Disclaimer: This summary has been written by staff and volunteers of Evidence Aid in order to make the content of the original document accessible to decision makers who are searching for the available evidence on the coronavirus (COVID-19) but may not have the time, initially, to read the original report in full. This summary is not intended as a substitute for the medical advice of physicians, other health workers, professional associations, guideline developers, or national governments and international agencies. If readers of this summary think that the evidence that is presented within it is relevant to their decision-making they should refer to the content and details of the original article, and the advice and guidelines offered by other sources of expertise, before making decisions. Evidence Aid cannot be held responsible for any decisions made about the coronavirus (COVID-19) on the basis of this summary alone. The text can be shared and re-used without charge, citing Evidence Aid as the source and noting the date on which you took the text.