Celebrating Community Health in Afghanistan

Jessica Golden

Project Specialist

Nine years ago, Guljan Zaman became a formally trained Community Health Worker (CHW), joining other volunteers who work within their own communities to improve individual and family health. Since then, she has experienced many changes in her small community in Kabul, Afghanistan. Her community is constantly in a state of security and economic flux and, as a health worker, Guljan serves as a consistent health care resource for those who live within her small district. Guljan is one of 28,000 formally trained CHWs that currently work in Afghanistan.

Community Health Workers speak during Afghanistan’s National CHW’s Day

CHWs like Guljan were among those who attended a recent event celebrating CHWs in Kabul, Afghanistan. Community Health Worker’s Day recognizes the hard work of the country’s CHWs and takes place each year on December 5. This year, the event was attended by CHWs and Community Health Supervisors, as well as representatives from the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the United Nations Population Fund, and the Afghanistan Ministry of Public Health. The event focused on celebrating CHWs and the work they do within Afghanistan’s Community-based Healthcare Program.

Representatives from the Leadership, Management, and Governance (LMG) Project in Afghanistan also joined the 350 participants at the CHW’s Day celebration to show support for the CHWs and help celebrate their accomplishments. Since September 2012, the LMG Project has trained CHWs in improving population health, including infectious disease prevention, maternal and child health, and family planning. CHWs now provide 63% of all family planning services in Afghanistan, including the first dose of injectable contraceptives.

During the CHW’s Day celebration, CHWs and the Community-based Health Care Program were recognized as cornerstones of comprehensive primary health care. The event concluded with the Acting Minister and Deputy Minister of the Afghanistan Ministry of Public Health encouraged stakeholders, especially the donor community, to support and strengthen the capacity of CHWs and the Community-based Health Care Program as a whole.