• Janise

About Us Community Health Workers : V 1

We are the bridge that two different pieces of land needs to connect so that things can pass between them. The thing to find out is...

What type of bridge are we now?
What type of bridge do we want to be?
Why do we want to be a bridge?
  1. Why do we want to be a bridge?

There are many ways that you can find out about the community health worker position. You could have needed a job for money, liked the idea, went to school for it and more, but the question remains as your reading this now is, why should I continue to be a Community health worker and what does this mean for me? What will this continue to mean for me for a period of time?

Something to consider, Bridges are important and vital to creating new opportunities and flows of life between two places that were not connected before. The flow of life we provide as Community health workers to another place is vital health information and more. Information is powerful and can change someone's life forever. Community health workers learn this information from the community and bring this information to families that need it.

What is so unique about this, is that some families have access to vital health information but they can't interpret it because it is full of jargon. When it comes to our health, no one should feel like they are trying to interpret the pyramids but it happens and we are the bridge to this interpretation. This means that there are a multitude of skills we need to have and some which are not directly taught to us.

Juggling providers, families, other professionals, the people on the train and strangers, trying to be neutral with families who want us to be their psychic, therapist, police officer, housing, immigration, doctor, pharmacist, plus communicating with everyone and keeping up to date with objective factual information is no easy job. We push through it in this position on our worst days because we have Hope! Hope means we don't hang up on people and we hold our professionalism as we do our most precious gift, communicating, but with us doing this, somehow we should know that we are changing the world even if we don't see it right away.

The health information we have and how we share it, IS the type of bridge we are. Make it made of Gold, Brick, or Platinum and if your not there yet, we can always remodel it. Remodeling is one of the many beauties in life and as we do it, we pave the way for the people we help to see how to do it too.

What type of bridge are we now?
What type of bridge do we want to be?
Why do we want to be a bridge?

Number two to consider about being a Community health worker is that sometimes these answers will always be changing, and what we can do is keep in mind that it is okay to not know right now- but trying our best and striving to be excellent and happy- is not an option.

Here is the Community Health Worker Training Day 1 slide deck:

CHW 101 Training Day 1
PPTX • 2.91MB

Here is a link to the Community Health Academy where you can take training from an international context: https://www.edx.org/course/strengthening-community-health-worker-programs


On a side note: About a Community Health worker's motivation: learn where we are headed and what are some of the barriers below. If you don't have an exact reason as we discussed above, then maybe advocating for incentives can help motivate you.

Read the below study on Community health workers and incentives. Once you read it, the way you use this information is to analyze whether you fit the criteria and need to advocate for yourself and others to receive more training and incentives.



Background The recent publication of the WHO guideline on support to optimise community health worker (CHW) programmes illustrates the renewed attention for the need to strengthen the performance of CHWs. Performance partly depends on motivation, which in turn is influenced by incentives. This paper aims to critically analyse the use of incentives and their link with improving CHW motivation.

Community health workers

CHWs, who often are from low socio-economic backgrounds, have been defined as “any health worker carrying out functions related to health care delivery; trained in some way in the context of the intervention, and having no formal professional or paraprofessional certificate or degree in tertiary education” [8]. In addition, the WHO has suggested CHWs should be supported by the health system even when they are not a formal cadre [12]. They are the first point of contact between health service clients and providers, linking communities to the health system [13, 14]. CHWs deliver a wide range of promotive, preventive and partly curative services, including maternal and child health, HIV care and treatment of malaria [15, 16]. They are also in the unique position of being able to bring insights about community health to higher-level health workers [17]. CHWs mostly work in public and non-governmental settings in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).

CHW motivation, performance and incentives

The ability of CHWs to deliver effective services depends on many different contextual, health system and intervention design factors [14, 16, 18, 19]. CHW recruitment, retention and performance are enhanced by, or may even depend on, CHW motivation [20], defined as “an individual’s degree of willingness to exert and maintain an effort towards organizational goals” [21]. Motivation in turn is influenced by incentives, which can range from community appreciation to uniforms, volunteer allowances and remuneration, among others [7, 12, 17, 22, 23]. The diagram in Fig. 1 depicts this relationship [20].


Whether CHWs are employed or engaged as volunteers has implications for the way incentives influence motivation. Intrinsic motivational factors are important to and experienced by both types of CHWs, yet for many salaried CHWs, they do not compensate for the demotivation derived from the perceived low level of financial reward. Overall, introducing and/or sustaining a form of financial incentive seems key towards strengthening CHW motivation. Adequate expectation management regarding financial and material incentives is essential to prevent frustration about expectation gaps or “broken promises”, which negatively affect motivation. Consistently receiving the type and amount of incentives promised appears as important to sustain motivation as raising the absolute level of incentives."

Last to consider as you embark on being a bridge is taking a look at who is going to be your builder. Who is your leader, who are you following and why? what have they accomplished? Are they a good role model? Am I a good role model? and where are they willing to take everyone? Am I clear minded enough to make this judgement or should I ask more questions?