Aging populations and a growing disease burden raise the demand for skilled health care professionals, potentially creating a shortage across the globe. As a result, health care systems increasingly rely on community outreach, peer-support initiatives and partnering with patients and families to supplement care. In developing nations, community health care workers with little training provide education, support treatment, use diagnostic devices and deliver medicines, allowing specialists to handle more complex tasks.
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Campaigns like One Million Community Health Workers aim to expand and scale community health worker programs in Africa and have 1 million CHWs by 2015.