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Community Health WorkersNigeria

Health in Nigeria and the Role of the Community Health Worker

Cost Effective Interventions Can Improve Health

Health in Nigeria has been steadily improving throughout the years. However, despite these improvements, the average life expectancy for Nigerians is still below the global average. The major causes of mortality and morbidity among Nigerians (neonatal disorders, diarrheal diseases, malaria, lower respiratory infections, congenital birth defects, and HIV/AIDS) have proven to be preventable through simple and cost-effective interventions. However, gaining access to these interventions can prove difficult for many Nigerians. There are too few medical personnel to cover the rapidly growing population, with only 3.8 doctors per 10,000 people. Furthermore, of the 3,543 healthcare centers in the country, only 950 are public infrastructures. Private healthcare, while of high quality, comes at a cost that most Nigerians simply cannot afford.


How to Bridge the Gap

This is where International H.E.L.P. comes in. By working alongside established local organizations to bring Community Health Worker Training programs to local communities, we hope to bridge this access gap so every Nigerian is able to receive quality care. Ideally, healthcare services should go directly to where they’re needed most: a door-to-door service. The Community Health Workers we train would be able to provide just this service. We also believe it is imperative to bring the voices of the community into our programs. They, as primary stakeholders, know best what is needed in their community and how to mobilize resources to bring about positive change for healthier communities. Only together can we build an impactful and sustainable program so families can live healthy lives.


– Kelda Lee, IHELP MPH Intern 2022

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The Roles and Functions of Community Health Workers in Primary Care

Community Health Workers (CHWs) play a major role in providing emergency health services in certain situations like Natural Disasters when there will be a shortage of health workers or slower response from the Local Government Health System. Some common natural disasters which will have a huge impact on many people in the community & require quick help from CHWs:

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The Importance of Empowerment

Audia F., International HELP MPH Intern, shares her perspective on how International HELP fosters an environment of empowerment and individual growth. There is always more to what meets the eye in each community and not every challenge is the same.


Community Health Workers Provide Extra Hands in Areas with Few Resources

Many times, health systems fail due to lack of access to care, lack of resources, and lack of knowledge of health professionals. In my 18+ years of working in the healthcare industry, I have found there are great benefits in obtaining increased knowledge and having a few more extra hands that are willing to help as opposed to working short-staffed. It increases your performance level which enables you to provide good quality care which in turn, leads to a more healthy population. Community Health Workers are the key members of the health team by assisting in all of these areas of concern.

The beauty of it all is the return investment in having a community that is empowered to get healthy and to stay healthy
Community Health Workers are typically found working in underprivileged areas where there is a lack of resources; far away health facilities, lack access to quality healthcare, and have cultural or religious beliefs that may hinder the type of services that can be received. You also have to keep in mind that these workers merely volunteer their services and do not receive monetary compensation. I find this to be the most admirable thing one can do, having the desire to help without looking for something in return. The beauty of it all is the return on investment in having a community that is empowered to get healthy and stay healthy.

Empowering Locals for Health Improvement

International HELP’s mission is to educate and empower local people to develop their own communities for health improvement. Through this initiative, Community Health Workers are given the knowledge and the confidence they need to be valuable assets in their communities. Working with International Help has been a great experience. It is so fulfilling to be associated with an organization that aims to be a part of lifelong change.

– Audia F., MPH Intern

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The Difference Community Health Workers Can Make

As a physician practicing full-time in the United States, I see firsthand every day the end effects of people’s poor long-term health and lifestyle decisions…What I discovered was oftentimes people simply didn’t know a healthier way to live.