Investing In Community Health Systems, Workers Critical To Preventing Future Epidemics

Huffington Post: Investing in Community Health Workers Is Essential for Preventing the Next Ebola
Raj Panjabi, CEO of Last Mile Health and associate physician in the division of Global Health Equity at Brigham & Women’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School; and Jeffrey Walker, co-author of ‘The Generosity Network’

“…At the core of [stronger, integrated community-based health] delivery systems are highly-trained, supervised, equipped, and paid professional Community Health Workers (CHWs), who work in teams with other primary health workers (e.g. nurses) to extend care to the most vulnerable. … Unfortunately, financing for community health systems is relatively low compared to other health system areas and to priority diseases. … In Ebola’s deadly wake, a number of leaders from African countries and the global health community came together to explore how to address this funding problem. We released our initial thinking on Monday at the Financing for Development Conference in Addis Ababa through a report titled, ‘Strengthening Primary Health Care through Community Health Workers: Investment Case and Financing Recommendations.’ The report calls for urgent action by all global stakeholders, including African governments, major funders, and our partners to address funding challenges of CHWs…” (7/16).

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