Critical Role of Community Health Workers in Fight against COVID-19 Pandemic
New Delhi | Jagran Lifestyle Desk: Community health workers have played a pivotal role in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. We have come this far during this health emergency due to the relentless efforts of lakhs of community health workers across the world. These new findings have come to light in the research report published by ORB Media.
The study outlines how community health workers can help in curbing the pandemic by ensuring uniform treatment facilities to people cutting across the economic divide. In order to defeat this virus, governments across the world are taking several measures including the imposition of lockdown, creating testing and isolation facility for people, funding vaccine development programmes among others. And in these extraordinary times, community health workers are going the extra mile to ensure better health facilities for patients.
The research report also states that it will be easier to deal with pandemic like Corona if the government makes judicious use of the working methods of community health workers, their access to dense populations and their understanding of local communities.
According to the report, it is due to the relentless efforts of community health workers that countries such as Thailand, Argentina, Hungary, Mexico, Bangladesh, Honduras and Chile have been able to reduce their child mortality rate. The report recommends that they should be trained well and given good compensation, which can lead to positive results.
The report, prepared on the basis of seven countries, reveals that in Bangladesh, Honduras, Mexico, Argentina, Thailand, Chile and Hungary, the mortality rates of children under five years were 38.7, 17.4, 15.1, 12.1, 9.9, 8.1 and 5.3 respectively.
And all these seven countries have witnessed a marked improvement in child mortality rates, thanks to the efforts of community health workers. Out of the selected seven countries, two are high income, three high middle income and two low middle-income group countries.
In terms of population, Bangladesh leads the pack with 16.14 crore populace and Honduras is the last populated country with 95.9 lakh population. The population of Argentina, Hungary, Mexico, Chile is 4.5 crore, 97.7 lakh, 12.62 crore, 1.87 crore respectively.
ORB Research -
These seven countries have reduced child mortality due to community health worker
Child mortality (the rate at which children die before their 5th birthday) presents a true picture of the health of the country, as it is well calculated over time and has an impact on many aspects of health. .So for this report ORB media studied the national data on child mortality of 160 countries. They developed a statistical model based on factors such as spending on health facilities and the number of formally certified health workers, to compare a country's actual child mortality and its expected child mortality.
Study was undertaken in these countries
After analyzing these figures, they zeroed in on seven countries, the results of which were surprising. These countries include Thailand, Argentina, Hungary, Mexico, Bangladesh, Honduras and Chile. These countries succeeded in reducing their child mortality over a period of time. However it was not easy, they faced several challenges in providing good health services to children which included limited funds, different conditions in rural and urban communities and others. Each of these countries also met some unique challenges. These include challenges such as viral xenophobia in Hungary, religious skepticism of health professionals in Bangladesh, linguistic issues among people in Mexico.
The strategy adopted to reduce child mortality
In this study, each of the seven countries employed multiple strategies to tackle the child mortality crisis. They all had one thing in common, they deployed community health workers to deal with various level of health issues at the community level. For example, community health workers in Hungary were engaged in eliminating malnutrition among children and their mothers. In Chile, they were teaching mothers how to care for their newborn. While in Thailand, he distributed supplies and engaged in awareness campaigns.
Who are community health workers?
Community health workers are people from local communities who work with the government, non-profit organizations or NGOs to provide critical health services. Their goals, training and working methods may vary. This versatility is their strength so that they can meet the important needs of the health sector in a short time and reach a dense population. Research by ORB Media also sheds light on how better community health workers can be engaged in coping with the current coronavirus epidemic.
Why Community Health workers Are Important
Community health workers are generally from the same community where they serve. Because of this, they have a greater ability to understand the problem of the person. As a result, they are better placed to understand the health issue of the person which many expert outsiders may not be able to do. Research by ORB Media also suggests that health community workers are proficient in both mental health services and practical support. They are also proficient in caring for mothers and their children.
Proper compensation and better training is necessary
Although community health workers are not panacea measures for the world's health needs, the analysis and research review of data done by ORB Media indicates that if they are trained well. If given good compensation and committed long-term to a specific task, they have great potential to bring positive changes in overall health. If these conditions are met, they can contribute invaluably to situations such as dealing with the coronavirus epidemic.
(Disclaimer: The research and the data mentioned in the study is solely a work of Orb Media. Jagran New Media is presenting the research and data as given by Orb Media).
Posted By: Abhinav Gupta