Building a Model for Community Health Workers to Save Lives in Remote Villages
Residents of the remote rural district of Konobo in the eastern portion of Liberia must travel hours, sometimes days, to reach the nearest healthcare facility. Treatable conditions too often prove fatal as patients traverse muddy roads, navigate the jungle, and cross rivers by foot or motorcycle. In post-war Liberia, 60% of the nation’s rural population lacks access to essential health care.
Since 2012, Last Mile Health, an organization that focuses healthcare efforts in the world’s most remote areas, has recruited, trained, and managed professional community health workers (CHWs). These essential caregivers bridge the gap between hospitals and villages by delivering lifesaving preventive and restorative services to the doorsteps of adults and children. After completion of the 12-month training program, local CHWs earn income treating conditions such as pneumonia, diarrhea, malaria, and malnutrition. They also identify and refer more complicated cases to the nearest health facility.
Last Mile Health’s Konobo site now serves as a flagship location to pilot new capacity-building initiatives to expand care provision. In partnership with Liberia’s Ministry of Health, it is scaling the community health model for maximum impact. With support from CFP, this lifesaving, system-transforming model not only is saving Konobo residents’ lives, but is poised to prevent mortality for the more than one billion people around the world lacking access to nearby health care.