|© UNICEF/HQ06-2778/Bruno Brioni|
Beyond the home, communities have an extremely important role in health care, especially in the areas of women’s empowerment and human rights. Community partnerships in health involve training people as community health workers who make home visits or who staff the established health centres.
Exclusive breastfeeding, hand washing with soap and the use of insecticide-treated mosquito nets for malaria prevention are three of the most common steps that community health workers advocate. In addition, many community partnerships in health include workers who are able to give advise on the ways by which mother-to-child transmission of HIV can be avoided. Health workers also join in the fight against childhood illnesses such as malaria, pneumonia and neonatal sepsis. In rural Nepal, for example, trained community health workers have collaborated with skilled health personnel to help reduce neonatal mortality by 30 per cent.