Community health workers - the first response in emergencies

January 2010

A community health worker in Afghanistan meets with a family in Jalalabad
UNICEF/Cornelia Walther

In times of crisis, what often makes headlines is the international response. But in most cases, those who provide the initial lifesaving care are health workers from the very communities affected.

WHO works with governments and partners to equip, train and prepare community health workers worldwide to provide critical care for millions of people affected by natural disasters, war and other crises, and the health risks that follow.

Local health workers help ensure equity in health at grassroots levels - urban and remote - and contribute to country efforts to ensure health care for all, particularly the poor, underserved and underprivileged. These workers are trained in hygiene, first aid, immunization and other essential primary health care services and form the backbone of any emergency health response.

This photo essay highlights the critical role these workers play in saving lives by preparing for and responding to emergencies.

Read the photo story

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