Helping health workers address the social causes of poor health
To make a real impact on improving health it is necessary to address the underlying social causes of poor health. Yet, many frontline health workers feel helpless and frustrated by the social and economic challenges that their patients encounter in their daily lives. With the generous support of a Canadian Rising Stars grant from Grand Challenges Canada, we conducted research in Brazil, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Niger with a focus on child labour as an entry point to better understand how health workers can address the social causes of poor health. The result of this work is the CLEAR toolkit, the first training tool developed to provide community health workers in low and middle income countries with practical skills on how to take a broader view when treating patients. Our research confirms that this innovation is welcomed by frontline health workers who consider that such training and support is critical for being able to address the underlying causes of poor health.