Below are the citation and selected extracts of an ediorial in the November 2016 issue of the WHO Bulletin. The full text is freely available here:

CITATION: Research on community-based health workers is needed to achieve the sustainable development goals
Dermot Maher & Giorgio Cometto
Bull World Health Organ 2016;94:786–786 | doi:


We identify five key issues for consideration in building this evidence base.

First, while there is a wealth of research experience on the role of community-based health workers regarding communicable diseases and maternal and child health, there is less research on
their role regarding noncommunicable diseases…

Second, more attention should be paid to cross-cutting enabling factors, for example, education, accreditation and regulation, management and supervision, effective linkage to professional cadres, motivation and remuneration, and provision of essential drugs and commodities…

Third, there is a research gap in understanding how to ensure the sustainability of programmes supported by community-based health workers, by using innovative national planning, governance,
legal and financing mechanisms…

Fourth, previous research experience on the role of community-based health workers represents a mix of varying degrees of quality, while the emphasis of future research must be on scientific
rigour to strengthen the evidence base for policy and practice.

Finally, it is important to avoid too narrow a disease- or intervention-specific focus to community-based health workers’ research…

Best wishes, Neil

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