Coronavirus

Engaging Community Health Workers to Support Home-based care for people with COVID-19 in low-resource settings

Activities Educate communities on signs, symptomsexternal iconexternal icon, and transmission routes of COVID-19. Answer questions raised by community members and address myths, rumors, and misinformation circulating in the community. Monitor myths, rumors and misinformation within the community and inform local surveillance officer. Provide education to combat stigma against community members (e.g. people with cases of…

Activities

Educate communities on signs, symptomsexternal iconexternal icon, and transmission routes of COVID-19. Answer questions raised by community members and address myths, rumors, and misinformation circulating in the community.

Monitor myths, rumors and misinformation within the community and inform local surveillance officer.

Provide education to combat stigma against community members (e.g. people with cases of COVID-19 and their contacts; frontline or essential workers such as healthcare workers, contact tracers, truck drivers). Speak out against negative behaviors and statements and encourage empathy and support to community members who are quarantining or isolating.

Promote COVID-19 prevention measures such as physical distancing (>2 meters), wearing a mask, hand washing and respiratory hygiene (coughing/sneezing into elbow).  People should understand that most people with COVID-19 have mild symptoms or no symptoms at all, and using a mask prevents people who do not realize they are sick from spreading the virus to others.

Encourage community members to seek testing or clinical care for symptoms consistent with COVID-19 or close contact to someone with COVID-19 per Ministry of Health guidance.

For households or communities already supported by a CHW, screen for COVID-19 symptomsexternal iconexternal icon as part of routine duties.  Refer any individuals experiencing symptoms, or who have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19, for testing. WHO provides guidance for prioritizing testing when diagnostic capacity is limitedexternal iconexternal icon.

Provide awareness and support for prevention of secondary impacts of COVID-19 (e.g. violence, food insecurity, lack of routine health care including childhood immunizations).

Undertake social media activities including dispelling rumors or false information and posting factual information

Examples of materials needed for implementation

  • Examples of materials needed for implementation
  • Informational fliers or leaflets targeted to a low-literacy audience
  • Hand washing stations with water and soap
  • Alcohol-based hand rub with at least 60% alcohol (for CHW to use when in the field and soap and water are not available)
  • Mask
  • Informational, educational, or communication (IEC) materials for COVID-19-infected individuals and their caregivers on safe home-based care, including hygiene practices and when to seek emergency medical attention
  • Misinformation/rumor tracking monitoring data collection tools, as part of routine surveillance
  • Mobile phone and airtime to call if a person in the community needs health care referral or for social media posting/dispelling rumor

Operational considerations and challenges

If CHWs typically communicate going door to door, adapting to using bullhorn/microphone may be challenging.

CHWs can model the behaviors they are promoting during educational sessions.

Develop a system for CHWs to refer and connect people to COVID-19 testing and treatment facilities.

A referral system or hotline for community members to call if they are experiencing violence/abuse or need social support should be in place before promoting this support.

CHWs may be tasked with delivering test results for people they have referred for testing or those in the community as part of the referral and assessment pathway.

Operational considerations and challenges

  • If CHWs typically communicate going door to door, adapting to using bullhorn/microphone may be challenging.
  • CHWs can model the behaviors they are promoting during educational sessions.
  • Develop a system for CHWs to refer and connect people to COVID-19 testing and treatment facilities.
  • A referral system or hotline for community members to call if they are experiencing violence/abuse or need social support should be in place before promoting this support.
  • CHWs may be tasked with delivering test results for people they have referred for testing or those in the community as part of the referral and assessment pathway.

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