• Length:
    6 Weeks
  • Effort:
    2–4 hours per week
  • Price:

    FREE
    Add a Verified Certificate for $79 USD

  • Institution
  • Subject:
  • Level:
    Introductory
  • Language:
    English
  • Video Transcript:
    English

About this course

Skip About this course
Despite medical and technological advances, half of the world’s population lacks access to essential health services, and over 8.9 million preventable deaths occur every year. There is an acute global shortage of health workers, a gap that will grow to 18 million by 2030. Studies show that training high-performing community health workers can help close these gaps and save more than 3 million lives annually.

In the past few decades, many community health worker programs across the world have demonstrated their ability to save lives — including in the hardest-to-reach areas. Yet despite this progress, lessons on how to successfully scale these programs as part of national primary health systems are not widely shared.

This course introduces learners to the core concepts of community health worker programs, and explores what is needed to build and strengthen large-scale programs in order to improve access to high-quality health services. The curriculum highlights the key components of designing community health systems, addresses common management challenges, and showcases lessons learned from a range of contributors — from community-level practitioners to government leaders and other global health experts. Through case studies of exemplar countries (including Ethiopia, Bangladesh, and Liberia), participants will learn from leaders across the globe how to advocate for, build, and optimize community health worker programs.

This course was created by health systems leaders for health systems leaders. Whether you work in a Ministry of Health, lead or support a community health worker program, mobilize resources and advocate for increased investment in community health, or you are simply interested in knowing what it takes to deliver quality care through community health worker programs, learners will have the opportunity to advance their knowledge and skills to implement critical change. This course can be taken individually, but learners are also encouraged to convene their colleagues from within or across organizations to share insights and further enhance the learning experience.

What you'll learn

Skip What you'll learn
  • Core concepts in community health as part of primary health systems
  • Key components in the design and optimization of community health worker programs as exemplified through country case studies
  • How to advocate for community health worker programs with key stakeholders
  • The evidence demonstrating the impact and returns of community health workers
  • How to build coalitions to support government-led programs
  • How to break down silos and reduce duplicative efforts in the wider community health ecosystem
  • The common issues that arise in implementing community health worker programs at scale

Meet your instructors

Rajesh Ramesh Panjabi
Assistant Professor Harvard Medical School
Harvard University

Pursue a Verified Certificate to highlight the knowledge and skills you gain $79.00

View a PDF of a sample edX certificate
  • Official and Verified

    Receive an instructor-signed certificate with the institution's logo to verify your achievement and increase your job prospects

  • Easily Shareable

    Add the certificate to your CV or resume, or post it directly on LinkedIn

  • Proven Motivator

    Give yourself an additional incentive to complete the course

  • Support our Mission

    EdX, a non-profit, relies on verified certificates to help fund free education for everyone globally

Frequently asked questions

How is the honor code upheld?
HarvardX requires individuals who enroll in its courses on edX to abide by the terms of the edX honor code. HarvardX will take appropriate corrective action in response to violations of the edX honor code, which may include dismissal from the HarvardX course; revocation of any certificates received for the HarvardX course; or other remedies as circumstances warrant. No refunds will be issued in the case of corrective action for such violations. Enrollees who are taking HarvardX courses as part of another program will also be governed by the academic policies of those programs.

How does my participation contribute to research?
By registering as an online learner in our open online courses, you are also participating in research intended to enhance HarvardX's instructional offerings as well as the quality of learning and related sciences worldwide. In the interest of research, you may be exposed to some variations in the course materials. HarvardX does not use learner data for any purpose beyond the University's stated missions of education and research. For purposes of research, we may share information we collect from online learning activities, including Personally Identifiable Information, with researchers beyond Harvard. However, your Personally Identifiable Information will only be shared as permitted by applicable law, will be limited to what is necessary to perform the research, and will be subject to an agreement to protect the data. We may also share with the public or third parties aggregated information that does not personally identify you. Similarly, any research findings will be reported at the aggregate level and will not expose your personal identity.

Please read the edX Privacy Policy for more information regarding the processing, transmission, and use of data collected through the edX platform.

How are non-discrimination and anti-harassment supported?
Harvard University and HarvardX are committed to maintaining a safe and healthy educational and work environment in which no member of the community is excluded from participation in, denied the benefits of, or subjected to discrimination or harassment in our program. All members of the HarvardX community are expected to abide by Harvard policies on nondiscrimination, including sexual harassment, and the edX Terms of Service. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact [email protected] and/or report your experience through the edX contact form.