HIV myths, misconceptions, stigma (2) Barriers and facilitators of rendering HIV services by community health workers in sub-Saharan Africa

3 December, 2021

'Evidence from this meta-synthesis supports the ongoing messages of reducing HIV stigma and increasing adequate HIV knowledge among communities in order to facilitate the provision of HIV services by the CHWs.'

CITATION: Khumalo GE, Lutge EE, Naidoo P, Mashamba-Thompson TP. Barriers and facilitators of rendering HIV services by community health workers in sub-Saharan Africa: A meta-synthesis. Family Medicine and Community Health. 2020;9(4):e000958.


OBJECTIVES: To synthesise qualitative studies that address the barriers to and facilitators of providing HIV services by community health workers (CHWs) in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). DESIGN: This meta-synthesis was guided by Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses. We included studies that were published between 2009 and 2019. The Ritchie and Spencer framework and the Supporting the Use of Research Evidence framework were used for thematic analysis and framework analysis, respectively. The Qualitative Assessment and Review Instrument was used to assess the quality of selected studies. ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA: Qualitative studies published between 2009 and 2019, that included CHWs linked directly or indirectly to the Ministry of Health and providing HIV services in the communities. INFORMATION SOURCES: An extensive search was conducted on the following databases: EBSCOhost- (ERIC; Health Source-Nursing/Academic Edition; MEDLINE Full Text), Google Scholar and PubMed. RESULTS: Barriers to rendering of HIV services by CHWs were community HIV stigma; lack of CHW respect, CHWs' poor education and training; poor stakeholders' involvement; poor access to the communities; shortage of CHWs; unsatisfactory incentives; lack of CHW support and supervision, lack of equipment and supplies and social barriers due to culture, language and political structures. The altruistic behaviour of CHWs and the availability of job facilitated the provision of HIV services. CONCLUSION: The delivery of HIV services by CHWs in SSA is faced by more lingering barriers than facilitators. Planners and policymakers can minimise the barriers by investing in both CHW and community training regarding HIV services. Furthermore, sufficient funding should be allocated to the programme to ensure its efficiency.

Best wishes, Neil

Neil Pakenham-Walsh, HIFA Coordinator,