Training Community Health Workers to improve healthcare in rural Somaliland.

Somaliland has one of the worst maternal and child mortality rates in the world. With the majority of the population living in isolated, rural areas of the country, many people are unable to access healthcare. With support from the UK Department for International Development (DFID), THET has been working in partnership with the Ministry of Health in Somaliland to develop the training of Community Health Workers (CHWs).

In communities that have limited or no access to healthcare, CHWs can provide a life-line to the local population. CHWs can provide basic medical assistance, health education and awareness, and act as a link between the community and their nearest health facility, helping to contribute to the significant reduction of maternal and child mortality. Crucially, CHWs are selected by their own community to participate in training and will return home to provide frontline healthcare once they graduate.  

The training programme was developed in collaboration with key individuals and institutions in Somaliland and is delivered through a combination of intensive class learning and practical placements.

Alongside individual training, THET and our partners also updated the existing curriculum and training manual. The curriculum for CHWs includes health promotion and education, as well as skills in recognising danger signs related to childbirth, and complications of conditions such as pneumonia, diarrhoea, malaria and malnutrition. This was done in tandem with the creation of the first Training of Trainers (ToT) curriculum, helping to contribute to the improved sustainability of CHW training.

Having graduated in August 2014, 39 CHWs are currently back in their local communities providing care and support for the local population. 20 new trainers have also been trained to deliver the course to new CHWs, ensuring improved sustainability and local ownership of the programme.