Community Health Worker Education and Training in the Refugee Context

A group of community health workersThe problem addressed through this research is the scarcity of health human resources to meet community health needs in the protracted refugee situation in Dadaab. The project was linked with the Borderless Higher Education for Refugees project, Centre for Refugee Studies, York University, The research was conducted by academic research partners from York University (Pilkington) and the University of Toronto (Abuelaish) in Canada, and Moi University in Kenya (Mbai), with the assistance of four community researchers from Dadaab. The goal of the research was to produce new knowledge to inform the creation of an education model for building health care capacity in marginalized communities in Kenya (and ultimately, Somalia, the country of origin for most of the refugees) by utilizing the cross-sector experience and expertise of Canadian and Kenyan universities and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). The project was conducted between July 2014 and July 2016. Research activities included: 1) pre- and post-fieldwork workshops attended by academic researchers and representatives from stakeholder groups, and 2) fieldwork consisting of focus group discussions with community health workers (CHWs), prospective students in the envisioned university program, and health staff from NGOs and the Ministry of Health (MOH) who train and supervise CHWs. The knowledge produced though this research informed the development of a new Bachelor of Science (BSc) degree in Community Health Education (CHE) under the auspices of the School of Nursing, Moi University, which launched in September 2016.

The research was funded by IDRC Grant No. 107467-00020799-030.

Selected Outputs from the Project:

Pilkington, F. B. Mbai, I., & Abuelaish, I. (2016). Researching the Gap between the Existing and Potential Community Health Worker Education and Training in the Refugee Context: An Intersectoral Approach. Final Technical Report, IDRC Grant No. 107467-00020799-030.

Mbai, I., Mangeni, J., Abuelaish, I., & Pilkington, F. B. (in press). Community health worker training and education in a refugee context. In A L. Fymat & J. Kapalanga (Eds.), Science Research and Education in Africa (Chapter 13, 20 pages). Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Pilkington, F. B., Mbai, I., Mangeni, J., & Abuelaish . (2016). An Education Model for Building Health Care Capacity in Protracted Refugee Contexts. Policy Brief, IDRC Grant No. 107467-00020799-030.