by Charles Hoots, VSF International, 2023
Community-based animal health workers (CAHWs) are present in dozens of countries of Asia, Africa, and Latin America. They deliver valuable animal health services to livestock keepers in rural areas where other animal health service providers are lacking. Despite CAHWs’ important role in providing animal health services to populations that depend heavily on animals for their livelihoods and food security, the successful, sustainable development and deployment of CAHWs faces numerous challenges and constraints.
To address these, the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH, founded as OIE) and VSF International are jointly implementing a two-year project entitled “Strengthening the enabling environment for community animal health workers through development of competency and curricula guidelines,” funded by the United States Agency for International Development’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance.
As an integral part of the project, this literature review consolidates learnings from various CAHW programs in Africa and South and Southeast Asia – all regions in which CAHWs have been trained and deployed in large numbers over more than three decades -, in order to better understand the success factors and impediments for the sustainability of CAHW programs.
The report provides an overview of the approaches that have been taken so far (in terms of national policy frameworks, project planning and design, selection and training of CAHWs, and supervision and monitoring mechanisms) and provides targeted recommendations to improve the sustainability of future CAHW programs. CAHWs’ contributions to One Health and opportunities offered by more integration of women in CAHW programs are also highlighted and discussed.