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Community Health and Civil Society Engagement

Effective community-based approaches are critical to improving reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health. They require strengthening the capacity of health systems to engage communities, and building strong systems of service delivery outside of health facilities to reach those not currently accessing key health services.

MCSP promotes the institutionalization of community health as a central component of country health systems. We work to link community health and health systems strengthening efforts, taking an expanded view of what a health system is—including not only health services, but all actors involved in protecting and building health (health promotion). The Program takes into account the centrality of household and community production of health, underlying the health promotion agenda, as well as evidence for effective community-based strategies to end preventable child and maternal deaths.

MCSP supports health promotion, prevention and curative service delivery in communities and with communities, in the full continuum of RMNCH care and services. We also contribute to global learning on effective and sustainable practices in community health, giving close attention to the fit between program strategies and country realities.

MCSP has developed an approach — called Viable, Integrated Community Health Platforms — to strengthen national institutionalization of community health. The component “lenses” of this model are intended to illuminate essential elements that community health strategies need to systematically address to advance comprehensiveness of services, sustainability and care.

These elements include:

  • Optimizing integrated packages of RMNCH interventions at the community level;
  • Strengthening the community health worker workforce and its support through community infrastructure;
  • Supporting more effective government, civil society, and private partnerships to institutionalize and coordinate community health and to build capacity and shared ownership; and
  • Placing emphasis on use of local information for equity, learning and adaptation.

Through the CORE Group, MCSP is able to tap into tools and a network of more than 70 organizations that foster learning, idea sharing, and capacity building. This work is facilitated through holding global and U.S.-based conferences, conducting national and regional meetings, and linking to the Community Health Network and Technical Working Groups.

MCSP also continues to provide technical assistance in program design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation strengthening, learning, and knowledge management to the NGO grantees funded through the Child Survival and Health Grants Program. These projects generate new knowledge to address the major barriers to improving and scaling up the delivery and use of integrated packages of low-cost, high-impact interventions to improve the health of women, children and communities.

To download MCSP's community health and civil society engagement fact sheet, click here.

Our Focus

Key Facts

  • Effective CHWs likely save one to two children’s lives per year in low- and middle-income countries.
  • At $500 – $2,000 per CHW per year, these programs are cost effective investments in community-based delivery.
  • 6.3 million children die annually, many from treatable illnesses, and millions of adults lose their lives due to issues that can be managed with a skilled, equipped and supported frontline health worker.
  • Studies show the risk of death is almost twice as high for rural children than urban children. CHWs, who typically live within the villages they serve and can be rapidly accessed, promote health and provide high-quality care in remote regions.
  • In India, a home-based package of maternal and newborn health interventions delivered by CHWs could reduce neonatal mortality by 62% in rural areas.