By Kate Hawkins
Initiatives Inc.’s CHW Central and the Thematic Working Group on Supporting and Strengthening the Role of Community Health Workers in Health System Development are delighted to announce their decision to work together to improve the accessibility and applicability of evidence.
A meeting of minds
CHW Central, managed by Initiatives Inc. is a dynamic global web-based resource that promotes and engages CHWs, enables the wide and rapid sharing of information about CHW work and management, offers resources to help improve CHW programs and CHW performance, and provides a forum for continuous and online discussions and exchanges among CHWs, public health professionals and programme managers in the United States and across the globe. The Thematic Working Group is part of Health Systems Global and brings together academics, policy makers and people implementing programmes to share, explore and understand the existing evidence base and generate new knowledge to ensure that CHW programmes are accessible, equitable and efficient.
A growing body of research
There is a growing interest in the role of CHWs in strengthening health systems and supporting the drive to universal health coverage. We know that these health workers have enormous potential in connecting the health system with community needs and demands and filling the human resources gap. However, there is a need for more research evidence on what works in CHW programmes, under different circumstances, and how to overcome some of the significant challenges being faced.
“Many of our members are producing research which can assist CHWs in building stronger and more effective programmes. We are committed to translating these findings into formats and language which have resonance with CHWs and enable their feedback. Academics can’t do it all! It is great that we can work with intermediaries in the communications process like CHW Central.” (Lilian Otiso, chair of the Thematic Working Group)
Getting research into the hands of the people who can use it
Evidence has real value if decision makers and other research users can access it, understand it and apply it. Research which is informed by those people grappling with real world challenges is more likely to be used in practice.
To help ensure that evidence generated by the Thematic Working Group is more appropriately packaged and communicated to CHWs, and that the thinking of the researchers is informed by CHW feedback CHW Central and the Thematic Working Group are entering into a strategic partnership.
Donna Bjerregaard of Initiatives Inc. commented,
“CHW Central is more than its resources; its vision is an international community in which all CHW programmes effectively meet the needs of their populations. Our mission is to improve the quality of performance CHW programmes and CHWs through information and dialogue.”
To find out more about the partnership or to join the Thematic Working Group please email Faye Moody (Faye.Moody@lstmed.ac.uk) or join our discussion group on LinkedIn.