A village health worker in Gadchiroli, India monitors newborns' growth.
CHWs are also less susceptible to brain-drain and co-option into vertical programs. This is because their skills are specific to their community, and less transferrable than the skills of nurses or physicians. Additionally, CHWs often work to increase community management and ownership of health-related programs, and thus are accountable to their own communities, rather than an external organization. This, and the great sense of pride CHWs feel for their work, as well as the elevated status and respect they receive, further contribute to their desire to remain within their communities over time.
WHO has recently held talks revisiting the role of traditional birth attendants and other community-level health workers. How can we continue to learn from the past, and find new ways of strengthening health workforce for the future?