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Use of community health workers to manage and prevent noncommunicable diseases: Policy options based on the findings of the COACH study
reportposted on 11.12.2019, 00:00 by AS Abdullah, Lal Rawal, SR Choudhury, S Baral, L Jiang, T Sha, HV Minh, TTD Hanh, S Tang
Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) have been increasing rapidly and are now the major cause of disease burden and deaths in the Asia Pacific region. This rising disease burden has challenged health systems in countries of the region and could hamper achievements of the Millennium Development Goals. This has raised concerns among policy-makers about the need to identify innovative approaches to control NCDs and meet the health needs of the public. Strengthening primary health care (PHC) services and the workforce to deliver such services has been considered as an option to address the growing need of services for NCDs. Community health workers (CHWs) have increasingly been recognized as a frontline health-care workforce to support government actions to combat NCDs. However, the role of CHWs within the PHC system is not well defined. To provide policy-makers with a package of options to engage CHWs in NCD care, this policy brief summarizes CHW-led programmes, describes challenges to integrating CHW-led NCD programmes and make recommendations. The development of this policy brief was based on experiences in four countries of the region – Bangladesh, China, Nepal and Viet Nam. However, it is worth emphasizing from the outset that our study is not designed to be representative of the four countries but exploratory in nature.