The cost-effectiveness of close-to-community health programmes: What do we know and where are the gaps?
Research shows that CHWs are effective in delivering health services in low- and middle-income countries. They can also improve equitable health care and extend access for populations who are difficult to reach. But data are often too patchy or project specific. Several assumptions are commonly made about CHWs including that they are less expensive than formal health care workers as a way of delivering key services. What is striking, however, is the lack of robust evidence on the cost-effectiveness of CHWs. In order to enhance understanding and inform policy dialogue on the role of CHWs in the health system, the international research consortium, REACHOUT, supported research on this topic.
The WHO Global Health Workforce Alliance supported the publication of this brief which summarises what we know.
By Sarah Hyde and Kate Hawkins