Advocating for Formalization of CHW’s and Improving Access to Adolescent – Friendly SRH Services
Monrovia, Liberia (March 22 – 24, 2023), The Benjamin Mkapa Foundation made a significant impact at the 3rd International Community Health Workers Symposium, held in Monrovia, Liberia, from 22nd to 24th March. The symposium, attended by delegates from 47 countries, provided a platform for Mkapa Foundation to contribute to discussions on advancing Community Health Worker (CHW) programs. This includes building resilient and equitable health systems to accelerate the expansion of primary healthcare for universal health coverage.
As part of the delegation from Tanzania led by the Ministry of Health, Mkapa Foundation played a pivotal role in championing the formalization of the CHW cadre to expedite the achievement of health targets. Through resource mobilization efforts supported by funders such as Irish Aid and USAID, Mkapa Foundation highlighted the importance of addressing capacity building, deployment, career progression, and practice for CHWs, while seeking approval for them to provide basic curative services.
The recognition of these efforts came in the form of an approved abstract for poster presentation by Mkapa Foundation, at the symposium. Titled “Improving Access to Adolescent-Friendly Sexual and Reproductive Health Services through Community Health Workers and Youth Peer Educators Pairing Model”, the abstract showcased the sustained impact of utilizing CHWs in implementing innovative approaches. Specifically, the study focused on enhancing access and quality of adolescent-friendly SRH services in underserved areas.
Findings from the study demonstrated the effectiveness of pairing CHWs with youth peer educators, leading to improved community care and increased access to and uptake of quality health services. These results emphasized the significance of developing integrated, responsive, and sustainable community health systems.
Mkapa Foundation’s commitment to strengthening community-based health programs continues beyond the symposium. Following a working session held in Morogoro in February, the Foundation plans to facilitate the translation of the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for Community-Based Health Program Implementers into Swahili. This translation will ensure that the SOP is easily accessible, well understood and utilized by end-users. Furthermore, Mkapa Foundation aims to gather feedback and input from the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) and undergo review and approval processes with key stakeholders, including the Director of Preventive Services at the Ministry of Health and the Tanzania Chief Medical Officer.