Online Program

Community health workers in Ebola prevention

Monday, November 2, 2015

Taiwo Adesina, B.A., Department of Global Health, Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, CA
Mamadou Ngom, Department of Health Education, Centre de Sante Birkelane, Senegal
Mamadou Diaw, Health Sector, Peace Corps Senegal, Senegal
Thelma Gamboa-Maldonado, DrPH, MPH, MCHES, Center for Community Resilience, Loma Linda University School of Public Health, Loma Linda, CA
Vanessa Dickey, MPH, Peace Corps Senegal, Senegal
The grassroots approach to healthcare is rooted in the investment in Community Health Workers (CHWs). The clinical approach to addressing Ebola is indisputably necessary to controlling it’s spread, but the role of the CHWs in the identification of cases and delivery of preventative education should not be underestimated. In a small community in, Kaffrine, Senegal, Peace Corps trained 10 CHWs on Ebola identification, transmission and prevention; with a focus on hand washing, as a preventative tool. The CHWs were also trained on behavior change communication and were then asked to deliver the health messages in a series of causeries the following week. This training occurred months after the sole case of Ebola in Senegal was discovered. Afterwards CHWs reported an increase in confidence in explaining and addressing Ebola in their communities. Along with Ebola education, over 150 individuals received information on proper hand washing practices and Tippy Tap construction. House visits were scheduled with these community members to ensure that taps were built correctly and hand washing continued to be practiced.  We anticipate that the messages delivered will be trusted and adhered to because they come from members of the community itself. We also hope to facilitate conversations about how CHWs in this community can be included in trainings provided by representatives of the Ministry of Health on issues of this capacity. While many CHWs lack clinical skills and expertise, they are still an invaluable and resourceful part of the solution. 

Learning Areas:

Diversity and culture
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Program planning
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Explain the importance of approaching large scale problems at the grassroots level. List 3 advantages of including the community health workers in the disease prevention and control process. Describe the implementation process for recruiting, training and managing community health workers during an project.

Keyword(s): Community Health Workers and Promoters, International Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I initiated, planned and implemented the project described in this abstract. I have worked within this community and other communities to help develop programming that emphasizes the need and support of community health workers in addressing health issues.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.