WHO LAUNCHES NEW GUIDELINES TO IMPROVE COMMUNITY HEALTH WORKER PROGRAMS
Community health workers (CHWs) have been recognized – formally by the WHO, informally by anyone receiving care in developing countries – as critical to primary health care coverage. For many people – and most living in rural Africa, as Devex points out – they are the first point of contact for communities with official health facilities. Still, they do their work mostly as volunteers.
During the Africa Health Agenda International Conference (AHAIC) held in Kigali, Rwanda, in mid-March, WHO launched a new guideline on health policy and system support to optimize community health worker programs. The guideline, which is aligned with WHO’s global strategy on human resources for health (called Workforce 2030), lists 15 policy and effective-workforce strategy recommendations. These include CHW selection, training, management, integration, and policy- and local-level considerations on implementation and evaluation.
GLOBAL FUND PUBLISHES NEW ‘CODE OF ETHICAL CONDUCT’ FOR CCM MEMBERS
Alongside the Global Fund’s overarching principles of country ownership, partnership, transparency and performance-based funding lie the Global Fund’s designated ‘ethical values’ of duty of care, accountability, integrity, dignity, and respect. These are described in much greater detail in a newly-released (April 4) document from the Global Fund, called ‘My Code, My Responsibility: Code of Ethical Conduct for Country Coordinating Mechanism Members’. The 24-page document contains sections on each of the ethical values as they pertain to CCM members’ duties and conduct. “As the main governance body charged with securing Global Fund financing and overseeing program success, the CCM is expected to embody the same principles and values,” the introductory page says. “Ethical, transparent, and responsible decision-making by CCMs is key for program success at country level.”
“THINKING OUTSIDE THE BOX”
The Global Fund is at last extending its principle of accountability into the wider (non-health, per se) world, while reaping benefits for the Fund and implementers at the same time: reducing the packaging of health commodities saves space, which means lower shipping costs, and less waste that harms our planet.
For the packaging of mosquito nets to prevent malaria, the Fund now bundles them instead of packaging each net in a separate plastic bag. In its website feature on this initiative, called ‘Thinking outside the box,’ the Fund says this change has eliminated 930 tons of plastic waste and saved $2.6 million in 2018 alone. For one large order of antiretroviral medicines for Zambia, the Fund asked the manufacturer to switch to carton-free packaging. This saved 100 tons of paper and $766,000, which has been reinvested in Zambia’s HIV program.