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Frontline community health workers are the lynchpins of strong, healthy societies. Yet despite their incredible contributions, these workers, the majority of whom are women, are unpaid, underpaid, and under-supported.

For all health workers do for us, we must do more to support them.


Together, we will support the future of frontline community health workers by ensuring they receive equal recognition, support, and fair pay from the first step to the last mile.

Why now?

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that by 2030, we will have 10 million fewer health workers than the world needs. This comes after the COVID-19 pandemic laid bare monumental gaps in the health workforce and global health needs during health crises.

of the world lacks access to primary health care

of the world lacks access to primary health care

WHO, 2017

Over 2 billion live outside the reach of the current health-care system

WHO, 2017

Due to the chronic shortfall in global health workers and increasing health needs, frontline community health workers – 70% of whom are women – face heavy work burdens, resulting in burnout and thereby impacting their work efficiency and effectiveness. What’s more, female health workers often carry a double burden of responsibility in the workplace and with unpaid domestic work at home.

Supporting frontline community health workers is key to achieving global health goals and preparing for the next pandemic. And strong global health systems require gender equality: equal recognition, support, and fair pay for ALL health workers.

How will we get there?

CARE is committed to working with governments around the world to adequately support, train, and compensate frontline community health workers, while also addressing harmful gender-related barriers.


Lack of adequate funding is among the major barriers preventing frontline community health worker programs from reaching their full potential. Yet investing in this workforce could provide a $10 return for every $1 invested as health outcomes, economies, and job opportunities are improved, especially for women.


As many governments are off track to meeting commitments made to strengthen the health-care workforce, the focus now shifts to effective implementation of these commitments. This includes investing in social and community-led accountability tools to assess the quality of health service delivery and including frontline community health workers in global, national, and local decision-making for health programming design, budgets, and governance.


The only way to effectively prepare for another pandemic or health crisis is by ensuring frontline community health workers are recognized as a critical part of a country’s health workforce, with equitable access to career advancement and leadership opportunities. Integration into the formal health system provides these workers with better support and regular training. Along with recruiting health workers from local communities, these steps help increase community trust necessary for ensuring everyone gets the life-saving services they need to stay healthy, especially during health emergencies.

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