Community health workers (CHWs) have an important role in the HIV response globally, especially to increase coverage, uptake, and retention of HIV services at the community level, to reach the 90-90-90 targets. In HIV-burdened countries, PEPFAR has recognized the need to strengthen CHW program functions to increase the impact and sustainability of HIV services. These key functions include training, supervision, mentorship, role definition, recognition, linkages, incentives, and career advancement.
The rich experience with CHWs in the United States offers lessons for PEPFAR-supported countries about building, growing, and sustaining strong CHW associations; providing training, mentorship, and advocacy; and engaging CHWs with the formal health system. CHWs in the United States are culturally diverse and work in underserved areas, much like communities served by CHWs globally.
To explore lessons from the US experience for CHW programs in the HIV response, USAID, the USAID ASSIST Project, and CHW Central organized a webinar on November 30, 2016 that brought together CHW leaders and organizers from California, Florida, Massachusetts, and Wisconsin. This short report summarizes key themes and takeaways from the webinar.