Under the USAID-funded Health Care Improvement Project, Initiatives Inc. planned the Community Health Worker (CHW) Regional Meeting held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from June 19 to 21, 2012. It was attended by over 60 government and non-governmental (NGO) representatives from six African countries as well as participants from international NGOs and organizations.

The objectives of the meeting were:

  • To provide a forum for policymakers and program managers to share best practices, innovations and challenges in CHW programming.
  • To familiarize participants with the CHW AIM tool and its applications, including assessment, evaluation and improvement of CHW programs.
  • To develop a framework for analyzing key constraints and enablers for achieving functional, scalable and sustainable CHW programs.

The global shortage of health human resources is estimated to be 4.3 million; the dearth of health workers presents significant challenges to meeting the overall health needs of communities. One of the ways countries have sought to plug this gap and increase access to essential health services is through the recruitment and deployment of community health workers.

At the request of the USAID Maternal and Child Health (MCH) team, the USAID HCI Project developed the Community Health Worker Assessment and Improvement Matrix (CHW AIM) Toolkit to help measure and improve CHW program functionality. With the body of knowledge that has been collected on CHW program functionality in the last few years, HCI, together with USAID and UNICEF, convened the CHW Regional Meeting to expand the discussion of CHW program functionality, sustainability and scalability and to build understanding of and capacity in using the CHW AIM tool.