REACHOUT generates knowledge to develop the role of close-to-community providers of healthcare in preventing, diagnosing, and treating major illnesses and health conditions in rural and urban areas in Africa and Asia.
An ambitious international research project
Close-to-community providers are health workers who carry out promotional, preventive or curative health services. They are often the first point of contact for health provision at community level and can be based in the community or in a basic primary facility. A close-to-community provider has at least a minimum level of training in the context of the intervention that they carry out and no more than two to three years professional training. They can improve access to services and contribute to better health outcomes. Close-to-community providers include a variety of different types of health workers, of which Community Health Workers are a large group.
Policy makers and people implementing health services are increasingly looking to close-to-community providers to help them overcome various impediments to universal access to health care. However, there is currently little evidence of which close-to-community provider strategies work best in different settings.
Removing barriers to effective care
Close-to-community programmes face challenges related to human resource management, workload of close-to-community providers, quality assurance, and routine collection and analysis of information. REACHOUT is working to maximise close-to-community providers’ potential by uncovering and finding solutions to some of the barriers to effective, efficient and equitable programming.