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Community Health Worker Voice, Power, and Citizen’s Right to Health

Nonhlanhla attended a Community Health Worker workshop entitled: “Community Health Worker Voice, Power, and Citizen’s Right to Health”. On the 12 - 13 June 2017, hosted by the Columbia University Averting Maternal Death and Disability Program (AMDD) and American University’s Accountability Research Center (ARC) the 2-day think-in was held at the American University in Washington DC. The meeting was attended by researchers and community-based practitioners from research and academic institutions from South Africa, Peru, India, Guatemala, Brazil, Australia, Netherlands and the United States. During the meeting, literature and participant experiences on the following two key questions were explored:

· What factors promote or undermine CHWs as agents of downward accountability, meaning from the health system to the communities they serve?

· Can these factors be intentionally fostered or suppressed to impel health system accountability?

Participants discussed commonalities and differences in CHW experiences with respect to their accountability relationships and demands in the different country contexts.

The meeting was concluded with a commitment to publish a commentary piece on the role of CHWs in stimulating accountability at different levels of the health system. The commentary piece will be published in the International Journal for Equity in Health. The future plan is to build on the commentary towards a Special Edition on CHWs and equity using the lens of accountability.