HEALTH SYSTEMS STRENGTHENING

It Takes a Village Health Worker: The key to healthy communities in eastern Burma / Myanmar

© KDHW
CPI trained and supported Village Health Workers are often the only source of health care in the community.

In a Karen village of chickens and woven-thatch homes is “Aunty,” a traditional woman with her hair in a bun. She teaches about hand washing, latrines and nutrition, and tests for and treats malaria. Aunty is chosen by the community, and she’s there to help 24/7.

Village Health Workers like Aunty are trained in a variety of critical basic services — delivering babies, first aid, immunizing children, monitoring and treating infectious disease, community health education — that are the foundation of a healthy community. Aunty makes dozens of home visits just to provide diarrhea prevention, education and treatment, part of the 90,000 community health home visits made annually by CPI’s village health workers in 133 villages.

“The village health worker model is about bringing the services to the people rather than the people to the services,” says CPI’s Health Director, Dr. T. Lee. “This approach is not dependent on ongoing international aid, but becomes self-sustaining, embedded in the community.”

CPI's Village Health Worker program: A cost-effective local-global approach to Community Health and Malaria Control