Technical Brief: Community Health Workers and Their Role in Implementing HIV Services in Angola

Community Health Workers (CHWs) may include traditional birth attendants, caregivers, community mobilizers, and peer counselors/educators. They are an integral part of many health care systems, especially in developing countries, and are now recognized by the WHO and the Global Health Workforce Alliance as a vital component of the health workforce needed for the progression of health-related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) through task shifting. Task shifting is a process that involves the rational redistribution of tasks among health workforce teams. To make more efficient use of available human resources for health, specific tasks are delegated from highly qualified healthcare workers to those with shorter training and fewer qualifications, but who are able to adequately perform the tasks. A task shifting approach is one way to strengthen and expand the health workforce to rapidly increase access to HIV and other health services.