Community focus for global health risks

Community-level health volunteers and activities are vital to addressing the most pressing global health risks. Governments and international partners must provide greater funding and recognition for the role of community level health volunteers and interventions.

What's the situation?

More than one billion people worldwide lack full access to appropriate, quality health services due to shortages in human resources and the limited availability of health facilities.

Projections estimate a potential shortfall of 18 million health workers in low- and lower-middle-income countries if we are to reach universal health coverage (UHC) by 2030. To achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and UHC, the world needs innovative solutions and a concerted effort from governments and international organizations to meet these demands.

As the COVID-19 pandemic has clearly shown, well-trained, community-based health volunteers and workers are indispensable to epidemic and pandemic response.

They have also proven to be highly effective at providing a wide range of other health needs—such as first aid, reproductive, maternal and child health, non-communicable disease prevention, and rehabilitative and palliative care services.

And they will be critical to ending cholera and to supporting the mental health and psychosocial needs of communities around the world affected by crises.

Our calls to action

Red Cross volunteers from the Democratic Republic of the Congo are trained in safe and dignified burials to support the response to a local ebola outbreak

More support for community-level health volunteers and workers

Governments and international donors should recognize and support the role of both paid and volunteer community health workers.

A Yemen Red Crescent volunteer teaches a group of children about washing their hands properly before and after eating to help prevent cholera infection

Ending cholera

Cholera continues to threaten the lives of millions of people, yet it can so easily be prevented with the provision of safe water and sanitation.

A Guatemalan Red Cross volunteer hands an inflatable balloon animal to a young girl forced to move with her family following Hurricane Eta

Scaling up mental health and psychosocial support

Learning from the COVID-19 pandemic to better support global mental health and well-being.


Get involved

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