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Abraham Paul, PA, Nkhunga Health Centre, Nkhotakota district, Malawi credit Homeline Media - VRC Marketing CompanyThe COVID-19 Action Fund for Africa is providing personal protective equipment (PPE) to up to one million community health workers in 20 African countries who provide healthcare services to 400 million African citizens.

The Fund exemplifies what is possible when like-minded organizations join forces for a common cause during an acute period of crisis – putting impact above their individual organizations. This is a moment for us to showcase the indispensability of community health workers (CHWs) by leveraging existing relationships and platforms, and build the systems that are required to reach everyone with primary health care, and ultimately to ensure Universal Health Coverage.

Long before COVID-19, we knew that countries with strong community health systems would be better positioned to serve population health needs and protect communities against pandemic threats. In the post-COVID world we envision, CHWs will be equipped, trained, supervised, compensated, protected and supported as part of a well-functioning health system that can help keep this pandemic and future threats in check.

CHWs are indispensable to achieving Health for All. CHWs engaged in provision of care—through routine services such as integrated community case management as well as COVID-19 specific activities like case identification—need minimum PPE to maintain essential health services and fight COVID-19 (“to keep safe and keep serving”). Minimum PPE includes gloves, surgical masks, and face shields or another form of eye protection.

In every country covered by the fund, CHWs are relied on for COVID-19 case finding, screening, home-based care, and transport of samples for testing as well as other essential health services that put them in proximity with patients. Their work cannot always be done over the phone, from six feet away, or with only a homemade mask.

In each country, the Fund has established an agreement with the Ministry of Health and at least one supporting non-governmental health partner.  In advance of being approved for a donation, each country provides an assessment of the distribution plan and supply chain capacity (storage and transport) to the Fund to demonstrate the resources available to ensure that donated supplies reach the last mile from the port of entry. Direct Relief is responsible for the purchase of all supplies, quality assurance of the product procured, and securing transportation to the port of entry in each country.

Beyond the pandemic, all 30 partner members of the COVID-19 Action Fund for Africa will continue to support and mobilise resources to ensure that universal health care reaches last mile communities through well-paid, trained, and protected Community Health Workers.


To learn more, contact: Vickie Remoe,

In the lead-up to UHC Day 2020 (“Health for All: Protect Everyone”), we are highlighting how CSEM member organizations are contributing to ensure the COVID-19 response protects everyone and keeping momentum going for universal health coverage amid the crisis. See more.

Join us for the virtual UHC Day rally on 12 December 2020 — share your commitment to UHC and call on decision-makers to protect everyone!