Community Health System Catalog: FAQs

What is the Community Health Systems Catalog (the Catalog)?

The Catalog is an online tool that provides general information about the community health systems of countries prioritized by USAID’s Office of Population and Reproductive Health, as well as countries with a strong interest in community-based family planning, a focus of the APC project. The Catalog was created to fill the current knowledge gap for easily accessible, basic information on community health systems.

The information in the Catalog is presented in two formats: the online portion and the downloadable Country Profile PDFs. The online portion provides snapshot versions of the extensive information provided in each Country Profile.

What is captured in the Catalog?

The Catalog provides information on the structure, management, staffing, and services included in the community health systems of each country. The information presented is based on individual country policies regarding the structure and implementation of the community health system.

The Catalog provides a basic overview of a country’s community health system, reflecting key information on the various elements that make up the system. The Catalog is not exhaustive, and is intended to serve as an initial source of information on the community-based health service activities in each country.

What is not captured in the Catalog?

The Catalog is an initial source of information on community health systems, and is not an exhaustive resource. The Catalog reflects the intended implementation of country activities based on policies, as opposed to all local activities. As such, there may be additional activities occurring at the community level beyond what is included in the Catalog. It is APC’s goal that the Catalog will provide the foundation for further information gathering.

Who was the Catalog designed for?

The Catalog is intended for use by Ministries of Health, donors, implementing partners, and researchers. In short, the Catalog is meant for anyone interested in learning more about community health systems in the selected countries.

What are the different sections of the Catalog?

The Catalog has six main sections containing different information on a country’s community health system:

Systems Overview: Provides a snapshot of the community health program(s) in each country.

Family Planning Activities: An overview of community-based family planning program(s) by country, including information on relevant cadres of community health workers and the services they provide.

Comparison Table: Compare key components of community health systems across countries.

References: Discover the resources used to compile the information available in the Catalog.

Policies: View and download relevant community health and community-based family planning policies for each country.

Country Profiles: Peruse in-depth information on the community health system of each country presented in a downloadable format.

How can I use the Catalog?

The Catalog can be used for strategic planning, program design and implementation, policy development, advocacy, academic research, and/or new business development. The Catalog is designed to answer some of the following types of questions:

  • How many countries provide services for diarrheal diseases at the community level?
  • What are the key differences between the community health systems of Ethiopia and Ghana?
  • Does Liberia have a community-based family planning policy?
  • What is the catchment area of community health workers working in Kenya?
  • Which countries provide intrauterine devices at the community level?

How was the content in the Catalog developed?

APC staff at JSI and FHI U.S. and field offices compiled the information through desk reviews of existing literature, interviews with ministry of health staff and other implementing partners, as well as personal knowledge and extensive community-based family planning experience. To the extent possible, the information collected was verified by national health strategy and policy, implementation plans, and service delivery guides. Please see the References Section to access the resources used to compile the information presented for each country.

Which countries are included in the Catalog?

The Catalog includes priority countries of the USAID Office of Population and Reproductive Health as well as other countries exhibiting a strong interest in community-based family planning, the focus of the APC project. As of March 2014, the Catalog contains information on 20 countries: Bangladesh, Benin, DRC, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia. In the coming year, four additional countries will be added: Haiti, Philippines, South Sudan, and Yemen.

How is "community health worker" defined in the Catalog?

APC does not provide a standard definition for community health worker (CHW) in the Catalog. Instead, APC defers to the individual country definitions for CHW. 

Why do some countries have more than one program?

The Catalog includes community-based health service delivery activities occurring on a national or at a significant scale. In many countries, these services are implemented through various community-based programs. Programs can be implemented by ministries of health or local or international non-governmental organizations, but must be at a large-scale. Some countries may only have one community health program, while other countries may have multiple programs implemented by different agencies.

When will the content be updated?

APC’s goal is to provide up-to-date information on each of the countries presented in the Catalog. To do this, the content available in the online portion of the Catalog will be updated quarterly. APC will update the in-depth Country Profiles on an annual basis.

I have more current information. How can I contribute additional content to the Catalog?

APC recognizes that contributions from the global community will enhance the utility of the Catalog as a critical resource. We encourage comments and information regarding the countries and community health systems included in the Catalog; the Catalog includes a feedback form, found on the Catalog landing page, to enable users to contribute additional content. Please note that APC must verify all recommended content; please be prepared to provide source material for all recommended additions.