Priority Challenge Areas

In Our Credo tradition of putting people first, the Center for Health Worker Innovation has adopted a human-centered approach—impacting the system by first focusing on the needs of individual health workers and what they need to thrive on the job. We believe that by solving the challenges of frontline health workers, we will improve healthcare for everyone. the Center takes its lead from health workers and the communities they care for each and every day, and prioritizes five challenge areas.

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Training & Education
Leadership & Management
Well-being & Resilience
Connection & Integration
Respect & Recognition
Training & Education
Did You Know?
It can cost as little as $300 to train a frontline health worker in critical lifesaving skills to address common threats to health.

Frontline Health Workers Coalition
Frontline health workers provide services directly to communities, especially in remote and rural areas. They provide immunizations, treat common infections, ensure healthy outcomes for mothers and newborns, prevent unintended pregnancies, and fight diseases like tuberculosis, malaria and HIV. They are also critical in helping communities prevent, detect, and respond to epidemics to stop them from spreading and becoming deadlier. Because they belong to the communities they serve, frontline health workers are culturally sensitive to local needs and beliefs and can ensure that healthcare reaches those who need it most.

Frontline health workers are the backbone of effective primary health systems but there are not enough of them, and many in the field lack the training and ongoing support to best serve their communities.

Learn how the Center is advancing training and education for frontline health workers
Leadership & Management
Did You Know?
Women comprise 70% of the global health workforce, yet only 25% of global health organizations have women in leadership positions.

The Lancet
Effective leadership and management are critical to primary and community health systems at every level—from the leaders of health systems to interprofessional health worker teams and individual frontline health workers. Leadership and management training that enables frontline health workers to have a voice in the system can lead to expanded access, improved service delivery, enhanced linkage of communities to health systems and improvements in overall community health.

However, several barriers exist that hinder nurses, midwives and community health workers from rising to organizational leadership roles, including gender discrimination and a lack of fundamental leadership training.

Learn how the Center is building the capacity of frontline health workers to be effective leaders
Well-being & Resilience
Did You Know?
In a national nursing engagement study, 15.6% of all nurses reported feelings of burnout, with the percentage rising to 41% of “unengaged” nurses.

Nurse.org
A variety of stressors including heavy workloads, unsafe working environments and unsupportive management can pose a risk to the psychological, physical and professional well-being of individual health workers. They carry the immense responsibility of caring for and delivering lifesaving interventions to sick populations while also having to deal with their own challenges.

Without proper coping strategies and techniques to build resilience, these stressful situations can negatively impact the overall health and well-being of health workers as well as the quality of their work, retention in service and patient health outcomes. Building resilience among individual health workers can better equip them to recover, adapt and grow in the face of adversity.

Learn how the Center is promoting frontline health worker resilience
Connection & Integration
Did You Know?
Providing community health workers with a personalized mobile performance dashboard increased their productivity by an average of 40 home visits per month.

J Glob Health
Health workers require strong connections to health systems and communities in order to provide data-driven, patient-centered, responsive care. Digital technologies offer great promise in enabling rapid two-way information sharing and referral, regular oversight and supportive supervision, adherence to standards and protocols, and access to training materials and supportive professional networks.

High-functioning community health systems combine appropriate technology, well-trained health workers and effective processes to deliver high quality, lifesaving care. Such systems enhance engagement with clients, support decision making, increase efficiency, and foster linkages that enable their health workers and communities to thrive.

Learn how the Center is developing digital technologies for community health
Respect & Recognition
Did You Know?
In low and middle-income countries, community health workers often fill critical gaps in health care provision but have historically not received regular salaries.

Frontline Health Workers Coalition
Frontline health workers—including nurses, midwives and community health workers—are crucial to achieving access to health for all and for building strong and resilient primary healthcare systems. They are the first and often only point of contact with the health system for millions of people. Investing in frontline health workers and making their concerns a priority in policy agendas will support health systems and communities.

We must work to ensure that health workers’ voices are heard, their work is fairly compensated, working conditions are safe and decent, and their roles are formalized and integrated within the health system. This is key to recruiting and retaining the primary health workforce needed to make quality, essential healthcare accessible to everyone, everywhere.

Learn how the Center is ensuring that health workers are valued and celebrated