By: John Straw
Half of the world’s population lacks access to primary health care services. War, economic poverty, and corruption hinder the ability of governments to build and maintain health infrastructure, particularly in remote areas. Additional barriers for include high costs of medical care and medications, living hours of challenging travel away from any hospitals or clinics, and language/cultural differences also exclude millions of people from the opportunity to receive care.
For many, the best solution does not rely on the construction of hospitals or clinics nor sending foreign doctors and nurses to attend to the sick. Instead, people have turned to trained community members for their health care services. The abilities of these health care workers range from first aide care and promoting healthier habits to a depth of care comparable to nurse practitioners and physician’s assistants. While many provide primary care services, some focus on particular areas like midwifery and nutrition as well as organizing and advocating for health care rights.
In isolated regions of the world, community-based health workers are providing accessible and quality services that incorporate the needs and participation of those receiving care. During this course, Community-Based Health, we will take a look at the need for this type of health care model and how to further identify and support community-based solutions to health issues.