Updated Jan 15, 2021
Health, Nutrition, Maternal Newborn and Child Health and 9 MoreSEE ALL
Health, Nutrition, Maternal Newborn and Child Health, Energy, Gender, Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), Clean Cooking, Energy Efficiency, Economic Empowerment, Agriculture Water Management, Social and Behavior Change and InclusionSEE LESS
Kenya and Uganda
Kenya and UgandaSEE LESS
We live in an age of medical and technological miracles, yet 6 million children still die each year from preventable causes. One billion people in the developing world lack access to healthcare, and an estimated 750,000 to 1 million CHWs are still required in sub-Saharan Africa alone to meet the need. As a result, millions are forced to settle for health systems that are chronically under-funded, under- stocked, and under-managed. This disproportionately affects women and their children. Each of these problems increases at the “last mile,” for the hardest-to-reach rural communities, where the need is often greatest.
In the context of this broken healthcare system, CHWs are the first and only link to healthcare for many people across the developing world. CHWs are community members with basic health training who proactively address the essential health needs of their neighbors. They are trusted, knowledgeable, frontline health workers who often come from and live in the communities they serve. While they do not have the same highly skilled training as a nurse or doctor, CHWs bridge cultural, geographical, and linguistic barriers and still effectively address a wide range of their community’s basic and preventative health needs. CHWs expand access to healthcare and education by proactively bringing essential health services to their neighbors’ doorsteps at a fraction of the cost of facility-based care. Unfortunately, few CHW platforms have reached the scale needed to significantly improve health outcomes. A recent assessment of the Kenyan community health strategy, for example, found that high workloads, lack of accountability, low pay, and insufficient supervision render government-managed CHWs ineffective. Despite heavy reliance on CHWs in places like sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, the current status quo is that CHWs are not properly paid, managed, trained, or equipped. Living Goods knows that with the right support, however, CHWs can reach their full potential. CHWs have been proven to save lives, increase access to care, contain health crises, and keep healthcare affordable, all while delivering a positive economic return, reducing unemployment, and empowering women.5 It is estimated that 90% population coverage by CHWs in key countries by 2020 could save ~2.5 million lives and produce a 10:1 return on investment.5 Thriving communities have the chance to thrive economically. Healthy families mean more children are in school, women have more time to dedicate to their work, and communities become more productive and thrive. With access to basic healthcare, children get a real shot at reaching their full potential and women gain more agency over their own lives and the future of their families. Living Goods’ solution is a new approach for managing and supporting government CHWs that delivers dramatically better health outcomes at significantly lower cost than alternatives. This game-changing approach reimagines community health systems by blending the best practices and research from public health with effective performance management and incentives from the business sector, a powerful mobile platform, and support to government partners to strengthen health systems.