Abstract

In Haiti, Malawi, and Rwanda, community health workers (CHWs) working with Partners in Health have expressed stress and concern that they do not have all the information and skills they need to encourage vaccination—including for Covid-19—as they work in difficult circumstances and changing information environments. CHWs are the frontline of health information and care, as well as the primary entry point into the larger health system. Researchers working in and with Partners in Health and its local affiliates—Abwenzi Pa Za Umoyo (Malawi), Zanmi Lasante (Haiti), and Inshuti Mu Buzima (Rwanda)—will test a new system to support these trusted health messengers as they in turn support their communities. This SMS- and phone-based system will allow CHWs to identify and report misinformation and raise questions, then receive tailored scripts and guidance to use in their communities. Researchers will randomly select areas around 44 community health clinics to better understand what the CHWs there know and how they are communicating about both Covid-19 and mental health. Partners in Health will then provide 12 months of information messaging to CHWs on one of those topics (also randomly selected). The research teams will periodically measure attitudes and intentions about Covid-19 and about mental health in those communities and track if use of services such as Covid-19 vaccinations changes after CHWs have more accurate, tailored information to share.

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