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Journal Article


Long H, Huang W, Zheng P, Li J, Tao S, Tang S, Abdullah AS. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018; 15(11): e15112378.


Boston University School of Medicine, Boston Medical Center, Boston, MA 02118, USA.


(Copyright © 2018, MDPI: Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute)






Background: Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) have become a dominant disease burden in China. Although China has a prevention-centered NCD strategy, the implementation effect in the community has been subjected to manpower and financial difficulties. Engaging community health workers (CHWs) in community-based interventions may be a cost-effective approach to relieve the resource shortage and improve health. This review aimed to synthesize evidence on types of NCD-related care that was provided by CHWs in China, and to identify relevant barriers and facilitators. Methods: A literature search was conducted in Medline, PubMed, ProQuest, and Google Scholar databases for English-written, peer-reviewed articles published from 1996 to 2016 that reported findings from NCD-related interventions delivered by CHWs in China. Each article was extracted independently by two researchers. Results: Twenty distinct studies met the inclusion criteria. The two most common types of CHW-led NCD-related care were diabetes and hypertension management (n = 7) and mental health care (n = 7). Thirteen studies discussed the barriers and 16 studies reported facilitators. The most common barriers included lack of support (n = 6), lack of resources (n = 4), and heavy reliance on technology (n = 4). The common facilitators included an integrated health system (n = 9), community and patient trust (n = 5), high quality training (n = 5), and CHWs' capacity (n = 5). Fourteen studies mentioned training content, while only eight described detailed procedures and duration. Conclusions: This review suggests that trained and supervised Chinese CHWs had the capacity to provide grassroots NCDs preventive interventions. In order to increase the generalizability and sustainability of such programs, studies with robust designs are needed to explore the effectiveness of CHW-led programs, and the intervention strategies to improve the practice of CHWs in various settings.

Language: en


China; community health workers; community-based intervention; non-communicable diseases; systematic review


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