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Which sector gained immense popularity and demand over the past couple of decades? We know that among the bombardment of names, one must be echoing out loud.
Education, without a shadow of a doubt, made its importance quite clear all over the world. Scientists, doctors, and analysts now realize that they need someone to educate and serve them to maintain wellness and health in the general mass. Healthcare providers such as doctors, nurses, and practitioners are already at their capacity with patients. So who is responsible for educating and guiding the general public? The answer is Community Health Workers (CHW).
Community health workers take up the great responsibility of educating the community and providing primary medical services. Their main concern is to provide culturally appropriate services. Apart from that, they stand as the community’s representative in the more extensive healthcare management setting.
A community health worker’s services include standing up for the community they represent. Their job is to identify the problems specific to their community, figure out the solutions, and advocate for healthcare providers. They ensure people receive all the necessary resources needed to eradicate these problems. Apart from that, some responsibilities of community health workers include:
1. Create a connection between population and system
As mentioned before, community health workers’ role is to create a bridge between healthcare providers and their community. Therefore, they address the needs and concerns of their community. They communicate the complications and work with the healthcare providers to find solutions. Their aim of performing these duties serves the needs of providing better healthcare service to their community.
2. Create a system of healthcare and social services
Not every community gets equal education about their fundamental rights as citizens and the opportunities available to them. A community health worker guides the people of their community about their rights and services available to them. They educate them about ways they can navigate the healthcare system and get the best services possible.
3. Reduce social isolation
Social isolation is one of the most considerable complications in the healthcare management system. Patients who feel socially isolated aren’t able to voice out their problems. It can create a communication gap between the healthcare service provider and the patient. A community healthcare worker translates the issues the patient faces with the service provider. This way, patients feel like they have a reliable individual in the system they can rely on to communicate.
4. Provide culturally appropriate health education
Apart from providing primary healthcare services, a CHW is also responsible for educating their community about general health-related issues and specific issues that they face. For example, an area with low-quality social conditions will require awareness about certain factors specific to its environment. These health problems can be specific to their gender, age, or environmental conditions. A community health worker with an online general studies bachelor’s degree can help in this regard. The reason is that they study courses such as humanities, community relationships, gender politics, etc., in their program. It gives them the knowledge they need to educate the population and help them overcome these problems.
5. Help individuals with insurance plans
Matters related to insurance aren’t as easy as they may seem. Most often, people lose track of an insurance plan’s main goal and get swept in the glamour of unnecessary options. But it is the job of a community health worker to guide their people about insurance plans. They determine if a person is eligible for the insurance plan, what options are best for them, etc.
Apart from guiding the community members about suitable insurance options, a CHW also has to determine the eligibility criteria for insurance and take actions accordingly.
6. Collect and relay data
Apart from serving the community, a community health worker’s responsibilities also lie towards healthcare providers. Their job includes collecting data and information about their service area and relaying it to the healthcare providers. Converting the data into useful information requires detailed descriptive analysis. The descriptive analytics method allows healthcare providers to look into resource availability, service requirements, health management strategies, etc.
7. Help people with healthcare management
While healthcare services are crucial in the community, improvement comes when the community actively tries to make their lifestyle better. Many health issues that an individual faces are results of poor habits and lifestyle choices. So the public needs someone to educate them, and the community health workers perform this duty.
A community health worker’s job in this aspect is to help people build a capital that can help them make better lifestyle choices. After all, to eradicate health-related problems from the root, the community must change their normal lifestyle and daily habits. A CHW helps them in this regard and guides every individual through this process.
Community health workers are the backbones of our society. Especially in countries with cultural diversity, it has become necessary for people to realize community representatives’ importance finally. And when it comes to healthcare, the need is even greater. All the responsibilities we have mentioned show us how important is the role of a CHW. They represent and support their community through harsh conditions and stand up for them whenever needed. So while a community health worker was a societal position initially, it has become far more essential now.