Co-Located Community Health and Economic Activity Centers
Brittany Schraeder, Eva Bonta, Eric Obeyesekare, and Khanjan Mehta
IEEE Global Humanitarian Technology Conference
Schraeder, B., Bonta, E., Obeyesekare, E., Mehta, K., “Co-Located Community Health and Economic Activity Centers,” IEEE Global Humanitarian Technology Conference, Seattle, WA, Oct 2015
Community Health Worker (CHW) programs have been implemented in many developing countries to combat the challenge of poor access to healthcare. CHWs are unpaid volunteers who provide basic health information, education, and resources to their communities. In rural areas the large distances between households make it difficult for CHWs to fulfill their responsibilities in a timely fashion. Additionally, difficult working conditions, lack of pay, and limited feedback severely hinder the success and retention of CHWs in these rural areas. Proper economic incentives can provide motivation for CHWs to make CHW programs sustainable. Income generating activities for CHWs can be focused on health services or can be coupled with other entrepreneurial ventures that provide benefits to local communities. After examining problems with retention and turnover of CHWs in rural areas, this article discusses a potential model of co-located community health and activity centers, a place for the community to gather, socialize, and receive basic health information, education, and resources. The center will create an entrepreneurial opportunity for CHWs, providing them an economic incentive to improve their livelihoods and a motivation to continue as an unpaid health care provider.