Health and community systems are dynamic overlapping systems that independently contribute to improving health. A community health system is a set of local actors,  relationships and processes engaged in producing, advocating for and supporting health in communities and households outside but related to the formal health system.

There is growing recognition that effective partnerships between communities and health systems are needed to achieve and sustain positive health outcomes. These partnerships should explicitly integrate and expand community engagement and oversight in national and local policies and implementation plans.

Community engagement in the health system contributes to improved population-level health outcomes with equity and at low cost; improved performance, reach and responsiveness of systems; and sustainable development benefits through governance, accountability and empowerment of communities and local civil society organizations.

USAID is working with governments and civil society organizations to define common approaches to strengthen health care at the community level. Involving communities in health system decisions helps ensure that services are people-centered and respond to local needs. From establishing community health committees to promoting relationships between local health facilities and residents, the Agency views the involvement of the community as critical for strengthening the overall health system.


USAID Health System Assessment Approach and Manual

Work Force Alliance’s joint framework to guide efforts to scale-up the role of community health workers within health and development programs [PDF, 602KB]

Community Health Worker Assessment and Improvement Matrix [PDF, 1.8MB]