Who is a Community health worker?
Community health workers (CHWs) are lay members of the community who work either for pay or as volunteers in association with the local health care system in both urban and rural environments. CHWs usually share ethnicity, language, socioeconomic status, and life experiences with the community members they serve. They have been identified by many titles, such as community health advisors, lay health advocates, promotors, outreach educators, community health representatives, peer health promoters, and peer health educators. CHWs offer interpretation and translation services, provide culturally appropriate health education and information, help people get the care they need, give informal counselling and guidance on health behaviors, advocate for individual and community health needs, and provide some direct services such as first aid and blood pressure screening.
Since CHWs typically reside in the community they serve, they have the unique ability to bring information where it is needed most. They can reach community residents where they live, eat, play, work, and worship. CHWs are frontline agents of change, helping to reduce health disparities in underserved communities.
What does a Community health worker do?
¥ It is not a desk job
¥ Working from home option is not available
¥ Part-time work is available
¥ May need to handle a team
¥ Travelling is a part of the job Working hours
¥ Companies usually work for 5/6 days a week and 8/9 hours every day Shift system may be available.
Knowledge areas and skills that need to be acquired
1) Must be socially active.
2) Should possess good communication skills
3) Must be friendly and calm composure
4) Ability to work for long and odd hours
5) Knowledge of the essentials of nutrition, sanitation and environment for the village like water safety.
6) Knowledge of diseases like malaria, tuberculosis, vector-borne diseases, leprosy, etc.
7) Well versed with the process to protect water sources in villages
8) Knowledge to identify key health, nutrition and sanitation risks in the village
9) Ability to understand the importance of incorporating representatives of all community members in the Village Health Plan
10) Ability to motivate representatives from all population groups (all castes, tribes, women and minorities) to participate in the Village Health Plan
11) Ability to motivate NGO workers, school teachers, representatives of self-help groups to participate in the Village Health Plan
Work Values and guidelines
¥ This job is considered mildly hazardous or dangerous
¥ Occupational hazards include general bacterial and viral infections encountered, stress, mental strains and heavy psychological workload
¥ Health risks include exposure to unhygienic environment in rural areas.
Minimum - 8th
High school diploma or equivalent is preferable and on-the-job training; postsecondary education may be helpful.
Should be functionally literate - maybe relaxed if no suitable person with this qualification is available
Certified training for Frontline Health Worker is available (equivalent to ASHA aligned to HSS/Q 8601 released by Healthcare Sector Skill Council)
Colleges offering courses related to the career
¥ NIMT College of Nursing
¥ Bharti Mukta Vidyapeeth
¥ Govt. College of Nursing
¥ Regional College of Nursing
The primary responsibilities of community health workers may include treating minor illnesses, looking after pregnant women, and caring for children.
Community health worker jobs may also involve family planning services, promotion of sanitation and hygiene, screening for communicable diseases, performing health education activities, collecting statistics, maintaining records, and providing health care referrals.
ACCREDITED SOCIAL HEALTH ACTIVIST (ASHA) is India’s community health worker. With nearly 900,000 women volunteers across the country, the programme has survived for a decade. Unlike earlier community health worker programmes, it shows little evidence of withering away in the near future. (The ASHA programme is exclusive for female aspirants)
For freshers - INR 6,000 - INR 8,000 per month for candidates with 1-2 years’ experience - INR 10,500 12,500 per month (These figures are indicative and subject to change)
Frequently Asked Questions
What is it like being a Community health worker?
Empathetic people willing to help others genuinely when taking up the works of a community worker at the end of the day would feel the satisfaction to have worked for the cause of a larger good. That is one of the most blissful feeling. If you are among them then definitely you would be able to feel that satisfaction.
How difficult is it to become a Community health worker?
It is pretty simple. There is not a need of an educational qualification barrier between you and the career. Try to involve in voluntary services and gain experience in the field and you are set for the job.
Is it worth to pursue career as a community health worker?
If you have empathy and the will to genuinely devote majority of the time helping other people even by risking yourself at calamities and containment zones. You should pursue a career.
Should I become a Community health worker?
The community health worker serves as a bridge between the community and the health care, government and social service systems. The community health worker's responsibilities may include: Helping people understand their health condition(s) and develop strategies to improve their health and well-being. So, if you are genuinely into serving fellow people and have an empathy feeling towards communities you should definitely consider the opportunity. The job is not so much paying and It has more of a service nature to it. You should keep that in mine for consideration as well.
What are Community health workers like?
Community health workers (CHWs) often live in the community they serve. They spend much of their time traveling within the community, speaking to groups, visiting homes and health care facilities, distributing information and otherwise connecting with local people.