Burkina Faso Validates a New Strategy to Advance Community Health

In Burkina Faso, a third of the 24 million population reside in urban areas, and this has increased due to displacement caused by insecurity in some parts of the country. Many of them face barriers to accessing health services.

In some communities, security concerns have led to the closure of health centers, further disrupting service delivery. Evidence shows that CHWs can save millions of lives far faster and at a lower cost than facility-based care. However, in Burkina Faso, CHWs have long not been permitted to treat childhood illnesses like malaria, pneumonia, and diarrhea in communities within 5 kilometers of a health facility, even where health centers are overburdened.

The Secretary General of the Ministry of Health and Public Hygiene, representatives of departments, and technical and funding partners pose for a photo after the technical validation of the National Community Health Strategy in Ouagadougou.

The good news is, this is about to change! The newly validated 2024-2028 National Community Health Strategy permits us to support CHWs to deliver life-saving services to everyone, regardless of their proximity to a health center.

This will not only facilitate faster clinical responses but also reduce caregivers’ time and transportation costs, making healthcare more accessible and efficient for all. Living Goods, through the BIRCH project, funded by the Global Fund via Africa Frontline First and Last Mile Health, worked hand-in-hand with the government on the development of the strategy, including managing consultants, providing technical and financial support for workshops, and convening key stakeholders.

“We thank Living Goods, along with other partners, for the significant contribution to the strategy development process, sharing their expertise and commitment to quality healthcare for all,” said Dr. Issa Ouédraogo, the Secretary-General of the Ministry of Health, at the validation workshop.

Living Goods is thrilled to see high-impact best practices for community health adopted in the new strategy. Based on evidence from Burkina Faso and other countries where we operate, we know that digitally enabled, equipped, supervised, and compensated (DESC) CHWs are crucial for maximizing impact and saving lives— principles that have been institutionalized in the strategy.

The new strategy also prioritizes digitization by committing to the scaleup of an electronic community health information system (eCHIS). The eCHIS app will guide CHW service provision in communities, delivering messages for behavior change and patient education, and ensuring accurate diagnoses, treatments or referrals, as well as effective supervision.

Data-driven task lists and real-time dashboards will drive better health performance while providing governments with valuable data for planning and budgeting. Additionally, the eCHIS will ensure the continuation of care by enabling access to patient records at health facilities.

National community health strategies are essential for guiding country investments and efforts to extend primary healthcare services to the last mile.

We commend the government’s commitment to strengthening and scaling up sustainable community health solutions and are grateful to be working on this alongside the Minister of Health, Dr. Robert Lucien Kargougou, and other partners to scale up support for community health as a critical strategy to achieving Universal Health Coverage—and especially so for conflict-affected settings.

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