Community health education
The Health[e]Community course enhances community health workers’ (CHW) knowledge and skills about how to inform and motivate their community about leading a healthy life. The aim of the course is improving community health outcomes related to maternal, newborn and adolescent health, and improving the communication, facilitation and communication skills of CHWs. The course was translated to Kinyarwanda in 2019 and adapted to the Surinamese context in 2020.
This course improves the knowledge and skills of CHWs in relation to community health, leading to increased confidence to sensitize, support and advise their community members to live healthy lives.
Training for Community Health Workers
The target group for this course are community health workers who work in resource-restricted communities. CHWs can be teachers, community workers, coaches, youth workers and social workers. CHWs have an important role in sensitizing the community to healthcare issues and play a key role in primary healthcare. They are often the first point of access for communities, thereby bridging the gap between communities and health facilities. Evidence-based ongoing training for CHWs can provide solutions to the growing global shortage of healthcare professionals and improve community health outcomes.
“Thanks to the training, I am more capable of supporting people with their health. Of course it depends on the situation, but no matter what the situation is, I am always open for it, to help.”
– Surinamese community health worker
Modules and focus areas
The course comprises 9 modules on community health topics and supportive, facilitative and communication skills. Most modules cover practical issues, but they also include the theoretical background to the topics. Step-by-step instructions on activities that can be used to facilitate sessions with community members are provided.
The e-learning program contains globally accepted, evidence-based information and guidelines. The information and guidelines are reviewed to ensure that they are appropriate for the country where the e-learning is offered. Adaptations to the content that has been provided by the original authors are made by local experts.
Implementation and impact in Rwanda and Suriname
The Health[e]Community course has been successfully implemented in Rwanda and Suriname. Community health workers have been trained and applied their acquired knowledge and skills in their daily practice and community outreach activities, thereby contributing to improved disease prevention and community health in the communities. These implementation experiences have proved that a localized Health[e]Community course can make a positive impact in new countries and new programs.