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Community Health Workers are Providing Cost-Effective Strategies that Improve Maternal and Child Hea


Findings from the IDEAS Project of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, show strong evidence that strategies using community health workers and traditional birth attendants (TBAs) to provide care are cost-effective in improving maternal and newborn health in low-resource settings.

GPA firmly believes in the empowerment and training of community health workers as a critical step to improving maternal and child health in poor areas. That’s why we are happy to announce we just renewed a grant to the Guatemala-based organization APROSADSE to establish and train committees of community health workers and TBAs in an additional 20 rural, indigenous villages in San Martín Jilotepeque, one of the poorest regions of Guatemala, where 50% of the population suffers from chronic malnutrition and more than 20% of communities are characterized as highly marginalized.

The results of last year’s grant to Aprosadse show that 17 of the 20 communities where we worked have developed a community fund for emergency transportation and medical care, with four reported obstetric emergency situations where the woman was rushed to the hospital and received the life-saving care she needed; 10 communities are now coordinating prenatal and newborn care with the local Ministry of Health; 6 are providing nutrition counseling and prohibiting junk food in their schools, and 13 communities have sent proposals for water filtration systems to the municipality to positive response which should have the most striking impact on the health of the area’s children.