USAID ASSIST Project

  • Blog post
    Female Community Health Volunteers in Nepal

    Female Community Health Volunteers (FCHVs) in Nepal pretest materials developed for the distance education Radio Health Program (RHP), promoting key behaviors related to Family Planning and Maternal Health.

    © 2004 Khemraj Shrestha, Courtesy of Photoshare

    During the second annual World Health Worker Week, April 7-11, 2014, we are celebrating the women and men who save lives and raising awareness of health workforce issues. This post by Ram Shrestha and Rhea Bright, originally appearing on the USAID ASSIST Project's Blog, explains the integral role community health workers play in increasing service coverage - and ultimately achieving universal health coverage.

    In this post, Rhea Bright interviews Dr. Ram Shrestha.

    As a health professional, whenever I visit a rural village in a low-or middle-income country, several thoughts come to mind. Knowing that the formal health system usually ends at a health center, dispensary, or health post in these rural communities, does everyone in this village have access to health services? How can we ensure that there are enough health workers in nearby facilities to provide needed services? Are there community health workers (CHWs) in this village, and are they well supported? I started thinking more and more about these questions as World Health Worker Week (April 7-11, 2014) approached…consequently even more questions came to mind.

  • Blog post
    Auxiliary nurse midwife in village clinic

    An auxiliary nurse midwife at a village clinic in Jharkhand, India.

    © 2012 Margaret D'Adamo, Courtesy of Photoshare

    During the second annual World Health Worker Week, April 7-11, 2014, we are celebrating the women and men who save lives and raising awareness of health workforce issues. This post by M. Rashad Massoud and Diana Frymus, originally appearing on the USAID ASSIST Project's Blog, explains why supporting health workers strengthens entire health systems.

    This week we appreciate and celebrate those at the frontline of our health systems.  With that, let us recognize that there are critical health workforce shortages (7.2 million) which are set to increase to an even higher level of 12.9 million in 20 years.  Although many countries have made progress in setting national policies and plans to strengthen the workforce, implementation has been weak and progress has not kept pace with expectations, manifesting in low health worker morale, absenteeism, and high turnover.

  • Blog post

    The integration of mHealth into community health programming has been integral toward improving health delivery in low performing areas that are unreachable by facilities and clinics. Emily Lanford has highlighted the ASSIST Project’s work in the enabling effect of mobile phones  in strengthening the performance of community health workers in Uganda. You can access the original entry on the ASSIST Project’s knowledge portal.

    Community improvement team member reporting during the meeting

    Community improvement team member reporting during the meeting.

    A component of Uganda’s national strategy since 2001, Village Health Teams (VHTs) serve as an initial point of health system contact for much of the country’s population.  Unfortunately, the number of available VHTs and the scope of their duties are not sufficient to reach all households needing services.  Further exacerbating the problem is that Uganda is plagued by grave disparities between the number of patients requiring medical care and the number of available doctors able to provide those services (the ratio is estimated to be 1:24,000 by the World Health Organization).  

    The ASSIST Project’s community support activity in Uganda has focused on improving the engagement and performance of VHTs to provide self-management support for people living with HIV. A major gap in current health system support for VHTs is the lack of supportive supervision and vehicles to transport facility workers to the community level.