Community health workers (CHWs) are increasingly recognized as a critical link in improving access to services and achieving the health-related Millennium Development Goals. Given the financial and human resources constraints in developing countries, CHWs are expected to do more without necessarily receiving the needed support to do their jobs well. How much can be expected of CHWs before work overload and reduced organizational support negatively affect their productivity, the quality of services, and in turn the effectiveness of the community-based programmes that rely on them? This article presents policy-makers and programme managers with key considerations for a model to improve the work environment as an important approach to increase CHW productivity and, ultimately, the effectiveness of community-based strategies.
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