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Training Community Health Workers to Scale-Up HIV Care in Rural Lesotho: Implementation Lessons from the Field

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DOI: 10.4236/wja.2012.23019    4,200 Downloads   6,793 Views   Citations


Community health workers (CHWs) have long played an important role in the management of complex health problems, especially in resource-poor settings. Although there is a large literature regarding the use of CHWs around the world, there is little detail about how these workers are selected, trained and utilized in the field. Lesotho has one of the highest rates of HIV in the world, with an estimated 25% of the general population infected with the disease; at the same time, there is a significant health human resources shortage in Lesotho with an estimated 60% of health posts left vacant. Community health workers have the potential to play a major role in HIV treatment scale-up in the country, and in 2006, a CWH-based project called "The Rural Initiative" was started in the remote mountain regions of the country. More than 1000 CHWs were trained and employed through this program between June 2006 and December 2008. This paper will review the CHW program in detail, with a focus on recruitment, training, ongoing supervision and support, and the larger public health implications of the CHW program in Lesotho. It is hoped this program can serve as a practical model for other programs working with or in need of CHWs.

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The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Cite this paper

J. Rigodon, K. Joseph, S. Keshavjee, C. Cancedda, M. Haidar, N. Lesia, L. Ramangoaela and J. Furin, "Training Community Health Workers to Scale-Up HIV Care in Rural Lesotho: Implementation Lessons from the Field," World Journal of AIDS, Vol. 2 No. 3, 2012, pp. 135-142. doi: 10.4236/wja.2012.23019.


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