One of the most significant barriers to accessing basic healthcare in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) is a chronic shortage of trained and supported frontline health workers operating within communities.
Inadequate training infrastructure and resources for pre- and in-service training of mid-level health workers, community health workers (CHWs) and health managers are major obstacles to scaling up the development of the continent’s health workforce.
The Frontline Health Worker Training Programme, Amref Health Africa’s ten-year partnership with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), aimed to increase the numbers of trained health workers in hard-to-reach and marginalised communities to address the health challenges affecting pregnant women and under-fives in East and Southern Africa. The main focus of our shared work was capacity-building, training mid-level health workers and CHWs, and empowering communities through partnering with Ministries of Health (MoH) and private sector and NGO partners identified by Amref and/or GSK.
The programme was implemented across thirteen countries over a period of ten years: Angola (with Africare), Burundi (with Adventist Development and Relief Association), Djibouti, Ethiopia, Lesotho (with Christian Health Association of Lesotho), Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda (with Society for Family Health), South Sudan, Uganda, Tanzania, and Zambia.
The Programme was the latest incarnation of a partnership between Amref and GSK that has endured over almost 35 years. Over time, the partnership has evolved to reflect changing needs and programmatic priorities: but it has always been anchored in our shared values.
Today, the partnership continues with an ambitious programme aiming to reduce rates of malaria and TB in Ethiopia and Kenya: both high-burden countries where routine health services have been disrupted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Image: Catherine Aanyu, a midwife from Eastern Uganda who was trained as part of the programme, photographed by Sam Vox in 2019. Read her story here.