Strategies to support community health workers working in fragile urban contexts: a case study of the anglophone regions in Cameroon


Partners: Queen Margaret University, UK and Institute of Tropical Medicine, Belgium


In Cameroon’s conflict-affected anglophone regions, the health system faces many challenges to providing access to quality health care services. In recent years armed conflict has restricted access to essential health services in these regions, with 40% of health facilities no longer functional and 16 out of 18 health districts in the southwest region considered unsafe for health workers. Furthermore, the crisis has seen a massive drop in vaccination coverage, leaving the regions prone to the re-emergence of infectious diseases and increased mortality.


This study will document the perspectives and challenges of Community Health Workers (CHWs) working in fragile urban settings. It will consider how their experiences might inform the design of CHW programmes/strategies tailored to the specific context of the urban and peri-urban areas of fragile and conflict-affected settings (FCAS) settings in the anglophone regions of Cameroon and potentially beyond.


Research objectives

The study will specifically focus on the urban and peri-urban areas around the cities of Bamenda and Buea in northwest and southwest Cameroon, which have been badly affected by insecurity and conflict since October 2016.


The study seeks to:

1) Document the (global) experiences and challenges of CHWs and CHW programmes implemented in urban/peri-urban in FCAS.

2) Document the key features and characteristics of existing CHW programmes in the FCAS of Bamenda and Buea.

3) Explore how CHWs’ personal trajectories and the context in which they work impact on their motivation, performance, and retention.

4) Elicit the CHWs’ preferences regarding CHW programme design and support mechanisms for CHWs in Bamenda and Buea.


Image: Community health worker, Mbah Peter, makes a house visit to advise a grandmother to have the grandchildren vaccinated in Bambalang, Bamenda, Cameroon. © Dominic Chavez/The Global Financing Facility via Flickr [opens new tab]



"ReBUILD for Resilience brings together partners to share experiences, to discuss our contexts, and to create an appropriate model that helps build resilience in health systems across the country and beyond"

Sushil Baral, HERD International