UNICEF and MSH Launch Community Health Planning and Costing Tool Version 2.0

 {Photo credit: Samy Rakotoniaina/MSH}A community health volunteer in Madagascar discusses family planning methods with a client.Photo credit: Samy Rakotoniaina/MSH

Community health workers (CHWs) are a critical part of the health workforce – not only do they bring accessible, quality services closer to where people live but they often serve as the early warning system for epidemics and are responsible for leading effective community responses. However, to be resilient and responsive while achieving their potential, CHW programs require long-term planning and resources.

Recognizing the need for improving the long-term planning of community health services, MSH and UNICEF launched Version 2.0 of the Community Health Planning and Costing Tool on May 1, 2020. Now available in English and French, the open-source, spreadsheet-based tool is designed for health system managers and policy-makers to facilitate the planning and financing of comprehensive community health programs. The tool allows users to calculate key results on the costs and required financing for the introduction, maintenance, or expansion of community programs at national and subnational levels for five years. The dynamic nature of this tool allows users to modify key variables and identify the corresponding impact on program costs. 

To date, the tool has been used by governments and nongovernmental organizations in Angola, Burkina Faso, Comoros, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, and Zanzibar. The results have helped countries determine the costs of program scale-up, mobilize domestic resources for implementation, and align partners to fill financing gaps. In South Sudan, for example, the Ministry of Health used the results to prepare a costed community health investment case to advocate for domestic and partner funding, leading to a contribution of $15 million over five years by a private donor.

To learn more about the tool, its new features, and available resources, including introductory videos and case studies, visit: https://www.msh.org/resources/community-health-planning-and-costing-tool.