One Million Community Health Workers

One Million Community Health Workers

CHWs contribute to 90% decline in child mortality in Mali

The 1mCHW Campaign team is so impressed by Project Muso, run by an NGO that focuses on community empowerment, and the remarkable impact they have had on child mortality. Community Health Workers (CHWs) play an important role in the small community in Mali where this project operates. Success there, in one of the world’s poorest areas, should serve as model for healthcare delivery across sub-Saharan Africa. This is a small-scale example of what the 1mCHW Campaign is working towards.

Project Muso, in partnership with Harvard, UC California and the Ministry of Health of Mali, demonstrated a reduction in child mortality by tenfold following the rollout of their interventions, many of which are provided by CHWs. Their study (“Assessing Early Access to Care and Child Survival during a Health System Strengthening Intervention in Mali: A Repeated Cross Sectional Survey”) was published December 11 in the journal PLOS ONE.

The leading causes of child death in Mali and around the world – malaria, diarrheal disease, pneumonia and neonatal illness – are preventable and curable. But these diseases can kill children quickly, and poor patients often access prevention and treatment too late or not at all. More than six million children died globally in 2012, primarily from curable diseases. So Project Muso asked CHWs to go door-to-door, to proactively search for sick children so they could get care before it was too late.

The results are stunning: A 90% decline in child mortality from baseline (from 155 to 17 deaths per 1000 children) in just three years. Although the results do not account for other factors that could improve child survival results beyond the intervention, they suggest a major improvement in child survival. The focus on child mortality is important because 48 of 61 countries with the highest child mortality rates are not on track to achieve the Millennium Development Goal related to child health (MDG4).

The paper is available online through the following link:

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