Transformative Education
for Health Professionals

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Pakistan Lady Health Worker Program

WHO GHWA

  1. Long duration training programs, with pro- motional, preventive and basic curative tasks for CHWs, with a relatively strong supervision system, and within a relatively weak health system: Pakistan’s Lady Health Workers (LHW) Program. 

Full project description: 

Pakistan Lady Health Worker Program

Health workers represent the very foundation of heath systems. The shortage of health wor- kers is unanimously accepted as one of the key constraints to the provision of essential, life-saving interventions such as childhood immunizations, safe pregnancy and childbirth services for mothers, and access to treatment for AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.  

As part of the government of Pakistan’s National Program and Primary Health Care, the Lady Health Workers (LHWs) programme was started in 1994 to provide health education, promote healthy behaviors, supply family planning methods, and provide basic curative services. The program participants were consisted of all females, and had duties of monitoring the health of pregnant women, monitoring the growth and immunization status of women, and promoting family planning in their working communities. All the women (usually ages 20-50) were expected to have an 8th grade education, and be a permanent resident of her work site. They were given health care training on the basics of primary health care through classroom and clinical practice, and are also given a refresher course monthly. The program covers approximately one third of the target population, and overall indicators of the population showed slightly better health than the national average.

The Family planning components of the Lady Health Worker Program required that they were all provided a kit full of essential medical supplies to carry out their duties, including contraceptive pills and condoms. LHWs distribute these condoms, as well as the pills to eligible couples in their communities in addition to providing information about proper use and possible side effects of birth control. They are also able to provide information and referrals to clients that are seeking IUD insertions, contraceptive surgeries, or injectables to the nearest government or NGO facility. The LHWs also keep records of their clients, and, for example, track the use of family planning methods by women in the community. They also hold community development meanings in which they discuss how having good health is important, and for example, discussing the benefits of family planning and how it can contribute to better quality of life. This program has achieved modern contraceptive usage of 20%.

Among the Family Planning services and products provided in the field by the Lady Health Workers include general counselling on family planning and provide oral contraceptives. They also provide more specialized counselling on healthy timing and spacing of pregnancies, as well as counselling on the use of contraceptives. They provide condoms and oral contraceptives, but do not provide depo injections or information regarding the Lactation Amenorrhea Method. They provide referrals for long acting and permanent methods of family planning.

Reference:

Global Health Workforce Alliance. Global Experience of Community Health Workers for Delivery of Health Related Millennium Development Goals: A Systematic Review, Country Case Studies, and Recommendations for Integration into National Health Systems. Geneva: WHO; 2010.

Global Experience of Community Health Workers for Delivery of Health Related Millennium Development Goals: A Systematic Review, Country Case Studies, and Recommendations for Integration into National Health Systems, http://www.who.int/workforcealliance/knowledge/resources/chwreport/en/

This case study relates to:

Case study addresses:

Quality: 
Yes
Quantity: 
Yes
Relevance: 
Yes
Sustainability: 
Yes