Community health workers and accountability: reflections from an international "think-in"

Schaaf, Marta, Fox, Jonathon, Topp, Stephanie M., Warthin, Caitlin, Freedman, Lynn P., Sullivan Robinson, Rachel, Thiagarajan, Sundararaman, Scott, Kerry, Maboe, Thoko, Zanchetta, Margareth, Ruano, Ana Lorena, Kok, Maryse, and Closser, Svea (2018) Community health workers and accountability: reflections from an international "think-in". International Journal for Equity in Health, 17 (66).

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Abstract

Community health workers (CHWs) are frequently put forward as a remedy for lack of health system capacity, including challenges associated with health service coverage and with low community engagement in the health system, and expected to enhance or embody health system accountability. During a 'think in', held in June of 2017, a diverse group of practitioners and researchers discussed the topic of CHWs and their possible roles in a larger "accountability ecosystem." This jointly authored commentary resulted from our deliberations. While CHWs are often conceptualized as cogs in a mechanistic health delivery system, at the end of the day, CHWs are people embedded in families, communities, and the health system. CHWs' social position and professional role influence how they are treated and trusted by the health sector and by community members, as well as when, where, and how they can exercise agency and promote accountability. To that end, we put forward several propositions for further conceptual development and research related to the question of CHWs and accountability.

Item ID: 53850
Item Type: Article (Commentary)
ISSN: 1475-9276
Additional Information:

© The Author(s). 2018 Open Access. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/ ) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

Funders: John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
Date Deposited: 11 Jul 2018 01:27
FoR Codes: 16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1605 Policy and Administration > 160508 Health Policy @ 40%
11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111717 Primary Health Care @ 40%
11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111708 Health and Community Services @ 20%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9202 Health and Support Services > 920207 Health Policy Evaluation @ 40%
92 HEALTH > 9202 Health and Support Services > 920299 Health and Support Services not elsewhere classified @ 60%
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