On December 8, 2010, this Technical Advisory Group (TAG) meeting brought together practitioners of the Care Group model from a variety of organizations in order to consider what is currently known about the effectiveness of the Care Group model and implications for scaling up. Critical questions for the group to consider included whether Care Groups should be scaled up, and if so, how, when, where does it fit into the types of systems governments are looking at for community health workers around the world.
The meeting started with a review of the Care Group definition and minimum criteria followed by a presentation on the comparison of experiences and evaluations across Care Groups. The review of experiences included a presentation by Henry Perry based on final evaluations he has conducted of six projects using the Care Group model and a presentation by Lynette Friedman on the results from a Survey Monkey conducted prior to the meeting to solicit experiences with the Care Group model. Following these presentations, the group explored issues related to scaling up Care Groups through NGOs and/or governments with small groups taking on these two distinct audiences and developing lists of barriers and enablers for scale in order to identify the replication and scale up challenges. In the afternoon, participants split into small groups to explore: how to better diffuse the model across organizations including identification of any needed tools for quality implementation; research gaps; advocacy needs, audiences, and approaches; and the experience in Rwanda with integration of Care Groups and government CHWs with a focus on challenges, advocacy needed, and what could be done to support the overall effort.
- Care Groups create a multiplying effect to equitably reach every beneficiary household with interpersonal behavior change communication.
- Care Groups are not meant to replace Community Health Workers (CHWs) but rather provide a means to extend the reach of CHWs to achieve high levels of household level behavior change associated with mortality reduction.
- Implementation of Care Groups at scale requires partnership with MOH, NGOs and communities.