Community Health Workers have the task of guiding people in socially vulnerable situations to primary health care and making them familiar with it. They visit people and make contacts to inform them about health and health care. Together, the health insurance funds currently employ about 50 Community Health Workers (CHW). In this way, they help the most vulnerable people on their way to, for example, a GP, pharmacy, dentist, psychologist, etc. At the same time, they are very well placed to notice structural problems and inequalities in access to care. This approach must, among other things, expose barriers in access to care so that they can be tackled.
Calling on a CHW is always free of charge!
CHW Roles in the Belgian Project
The missions of a Community Health Worker are:
Informing people about health and the Belgian care system, with special attention to the needs resulting from the covid crisis.
Directing people to care and welfare institutions such as the family doctor, dentist, psychologist, health insurance fund, child and family care, etc.
Supporting people in the use of health care by reminding them of appointments, following them up, giving them confidence, listening to them, etc.
Detecting barriers in the access to/use of care in order to reduce and where possible eliminate them.
Signalling the inequality and structural accessibility problems within primary health care to the policy.
The operation of the Community Health Workers in Belgium is still in a project phase. We are currently active in the following cities (click on the city for more info):
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This intermutual project is an initiative of the Federal Minister of Public Health, Frank Vandenbroucke. The financing of the project was established through an agreement with the RIZIV. The University of Antwerp is in charge of the scientific research linked to the project, which provisionally runs until the end of 2022.