Care in Communities

The IFRC and our 192 National Societies are training community-based health workers and volunteers to deliver essential community health services. In doing so, we’re addressing the global shortage of health care workers and contributing to the sustainable development goals (SDGs) and universal health coverage (UHC) agenda.

The IFRC’s Care in Communities (CIC) programme is an adaptable, evidence-based and sustainable approach to tackling global health care challenges.

It promotes a life-course approach to health that focuses on disease prevention and providing access to early diagnostics, screening, treatment and care—both at the community and home level.

Care in Communities is based on the ‘task-shifting' / 'task-sharing’ model. Task shifting is a way of reorganizing health systems to make more efficient use of limited health resources.

Where appropriate, certain tasks can be delegated to trained community health volunteers—including Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers—and other health workers. Doing so frees up highly qualified formal health workers, such as doctors, who can then focus on providing more specialized care.

The IFRC is uniquely placed to advocate for, plan and implement task shifting within community health programmes because:

  • Our National Societies have access to the most isolated communities and those exposed to disaster risks
  • Their auxiliary role to public authorities means they can bridge the gap between communities and formal health systems
  • Our millions of volunteers can reach even the most marginalized populations and have a personal understanding of people’s needs and circumstances

Care in Communities during COVID-19

Volunteers with the Bahamas Red Cross prepare to deliver daily meals as part of their meals on wheels service during COVID-19

Volunteers with the Bahamas Red Cross prepare to deliver daily meals as part of their meals on wheels service during COVID-19

Photo: Bahamas Red Cross

In collaboration with partner community health organizations and members of CORE Group, we have produced a guide for home-based care during the COVID-19 pandemic. This guide covers:

  • How to support people who require home care
  • How to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the home
  • How to provide emotional support to family members

The guide is available here on the CORE Group website in multiple languages.

We have also produced guidance on community-based healthcare, including outreach and campaigns, during COVID-19 in partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).

Download the community-based healthcare guidance here.