Respected malaria expert and professor in health systems at Johns Hopkins University, Dr. Bill Brieger, has called on health facility staff, local communities and on community health workers (CHWs) themselves to ensure that continued support and supervision are provided, so that CHWs can fulfil their essential role as primary healthcare providers in rural settings..
Dr Brieger, writing for Malaria Matters, explained that the nature of donor supported CHW programming means that there is often a lack of continuity for support and supervision, and that this greatly endangers the success of the CHW model.
"Volunteer CHWs are crucial human resources to increase and sustain coverage of malaria interventions," said Dr. Brieger. "Small and large scale training programmes have abounded over the years, stimulated by the philosophy of the Alma Ata Declaration on Primary Health Care. Unfortunately, CHW programs often fade after a few years because a donor supported project closed or funds dried up for a public health programme and the health staff who trained the CHWs loose touch with them."
He stressed that a lack of progress on locally sourced and sustainable support and supervision models are of serious concern to those working in malaria control and elimination.
"Until we move to the local level and find locally appropriate solutions to supervision, we will not be able to achieve universal coverage".