Visiting the clinic regularly can be a challenge for people living with chronic diseases like diabetes or heart disease. Community health workers can help address this barrier by making home visits to patients and connecting them to a wide range of resources to support their needs.
In places like Teófilo Otoni, Brazil, community health workers are a critical connection to the health system. Creude Mendes de Souza, who works for a local clinic opened with support from the Medtronic Foundation, works with more than 200 families in the area, taking blood pressure, answering questions about medications and administering other tests and exams. Her goal is to help people in her community live healthier lives, keeping them connected to health care services and social support.
“I inform people of the path they should take to achieve better health and a better existence,” said Creude. But she also says taking the time to listen is an important part of her role. “In some cases, people get things off their chest with me. I think I help because often the person is sick and there is no one to talk to – there is not even a shoulder to cry on.”
Community health workers are a critical part of the future of healthcare as the care model continues to change.