On February 6th a group of Malaria Partners International Board members and Ambassadors met at PATH headquarters to hear Travis Parker, PhD candidate with Tulane University’s School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine share the findings of his recent research study about malaria-focused Community Health Workers (CHWs) in Zambia’s three southern rural provinces. Funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Isdell:Flowers, the survey was conducted to assess CHWs in terms of motivation, challenges, community acceptance and workload. A few of the results included:
- The average CHW is 46 years of age and married with four children. 67% are male and 33% female.
- Primary household income is predominantly from farming.
- Nearly 80% have worked as CHWs for other health related issues.
- Health services offered to community members was very rarely refused.
- 78% of CHWs were either very satisfied or somewhat satisfied with their work.
- The primary challenges included transportation during the rainy season, bike upkeep and adequate medical supplies.
- The overwhelming incentive for CHW volunteers was wanting to help their community and recognizing it was ‘the right thing to do.’
Conclusions – Local acceptance of Community Health Workers malaria testing and treatment is very high as is CHW personal job satisfaction – both of which bode well for the continued success of this proven means of dramatic malaria reduction.