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Community Health Worker Guide | Dimagi


What is a Community Health Worker (CHW)?

A community health worker (CHW) is a frontline worker dedicated to providing quality health care to their local community. Their close relationship with those they serve fosters a trust that gives their health recommendations, diagnoses, and referrals added authority.1 As a link to available health facilities, clinics, and other resources, the community health worker’s objective is to improve the quality and availability of healthcare for underserved communities.

Most vulnerable populations are unable to access health services where they live – and when they can, the quality of care is usually low. Community health workers can offer essential care to these communities where they live. According to the World Health Organization, “the increased coverage of essential health services and improved equity in coverage envisioned by well-functioning community health worker programmes will result in fewer deaths and illnesses and lower disease burdens.”

Learn more about Community Health Workers through our comprehensive guide

Included in our Guide to Community Health Workers

Roles and Responsibilities

Community health workers can take on a number of different roles in their community, including responsibilities for different aspects of service delivery and the health system.


While the community health worker model is a promising approach to healthcare for underserved populations, there are numerous issues that CHWs can face in their day-to-day work. 

National-Scale Initiatives

In February 2019, USAID released a landscape analysis of 22 countries that employ a national-scale community health worker model.

Evidence of Impact

In reviews, the community health worker model has been proven to improve both health outcomes and patient knowledge – in some cases, at a lower cost than traditional healthcare programs. 

Mobile Data Collection

A key recommendation in the World Health Organization’s guidelines for community health worker programs highlights the value that mobile devices can provide. 

Case Studies and Resources

Many programs employing a community health worker model have chosen CommCare to support the needs of their workers. 

See CommCare in Action

Watch as our team takes you through the design of a basic app in CommCare

The Latest on Mobile Data Collection Programs

Updates and advice from our world-class partners and Global Services team

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USAID Cambodia Integrated Early Childhood Development Activity

Supporting vulnerable newborns and young children to reach their developmental potential through nurturing care and intensive interventions during the first 1,000 days.

Enabling Supportive Supervision to Improve Health Outcomes in Malawi

Enabling supervision of health facilities and programs through the digital integrated supportive supervision (ISS) tool developed by Dimagi.

Learn how CommCare helps programs around the world

More than 2000 projects across 80 countries rely on CommCare for their mobile data collection and reporting needs


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- Ted Barlow, President

Sehgal Foundation

“CommCare gave us the ability to control the experience of our fieldbased data collectors, which drastically reduced human error.”

- Bhawna Mangla, Senior Research Associate

Let There Be Light International

“Thank you for helping us to gather data, refine programming, and spread the message about our impact in fighting global climate change and extreme poverty.”

- Sarah Baird, Executive Director



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