Championing a Movement to Pay and Professionalize Community Health Workers with Margaret Odera

Episode 39  |  47 minutes

In this episode  we explore the journey of Margaret Odera, a Community Health Worker and mentor mother in Kenya. Following her HIV diagnosis, Margaret received life-changing support from a mentor mother, which inspired her to dedicate her life to helping other HIV-positive mothers and their newborns. As the founder of the Community Health Workers Champions Network (CHWCN), Margaret is also leading the charge to professionalize and amplify the voices of these unsung heroes in the health sector. We discuss the role of Community Health Workers in disease prevention and health promotion; the need for better tools, technology, and training, and the steps Margaret is taking toward professionalizing Community Health Worker roles to ensure fair compensation,  improved working conditions, and preparedness for future pandemics.

Topics discussed:

  • What a typical week looks like for Margaret
  • The realities of community health workers - their working conditions and the lack of compensation
  • The unfortunate status of payment for Community Health Workers in Kenya
  • How lack of payment for Community Health Workers reflects a gender issue
  • How Margaret came to found the Community Health Workers Champions Network (CHWCN) and early wins
  • Challenges faced in professionalizing Community Health Workers
  • The role of technology in professionalizing community health workers
  • The need for better Community Health Worker representation and visibility at various levels of health governance
  • The role of Community Health Workers in preventing future pandemics
  • The support needed from health systems at large to train, support, and equip Community Health Workers

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