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A community health nurse uses a stethoscope to examine a young woman.

Community health

Our health work includes nutrition, malaria, HIV, and maternal and child health. We aim to secure people's rights to services essential for healthy lives.

Previously, our health work focused on HIV, supporting partners across Africa and Southeast Asia to promote safe sexual practices, access to critical services for people living with HIV, and tackling stigma and discrimination. This included partnering with faith networks such as INERELA to promote SAVE (Safer Practices, Access to treatment, Voluntary counselling and testing, Empowerment) as a holistic approach to HIV.

In 2011, we adopted an integrated community health programming approach, building on the past successes of our HIV work.

Our current approach incorporates a wider range of health issues, including: nutrition, malaria, maternal and child health (MCH), sexual reproductive health (SRH), and other integrated interventions that enable communities to not only be healthy, but to thrive and be resilient. To this end, our work has an increasing focus on governance, advocacy and shifting power relations.

Our approach

We work in three areas, guided by a Community Health Framework:

  • Health development approaches: ensuring that health programmes are technically sound and use appropriate methods and approaches, eg integrated health programming and health systems strengthening.
  • Equitable social norms: ensuring that inequitable gender and social norms that violate the rights of individuals, reinforce exclusion of marginalised people and prevent them from accessing services are addressed, eg, stigma and discrimination, gender-based violence and female genital mutilation. This includes working with faith leaders to improve the health status of communities and to promote the adoption of beneficial practices. 
  • Equitable institutions: ensuring that institutions and health systems are accountable and responsive to citizens, that appropriate laws and policies are implemented and that there is an adequate, and equitable supply of resources to support appropriate health development approaches. 

We support health work in ten countries that prioritise the right to essential services: Burundi, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Myanmar, Nigeria, Sierra Leone,South Sudan, Zambia and the Central America region.

There is a health component in many emergency responses (notably in the Ebola response in Sierra Leone), which also builds on our community health framework and experience.

By attending training, we realised that health staff play an important role in promoting use of SRH services in the community. We learned to be welcoming and friendly when handling women. Now we have more women seeking skilled delivery in the facility than before and women appreciate our services more

Pauline

Nurse in Kenya

Results

Our recent work has had some notable successes and reached millions of people around the world. 

In Africa, our integrated PPA programmes in Kenya, Nigeria, Malawi, Ethiopia and Burundi have reached more than 5 million people with health education and access to essential HIV, malaria, MCH and family planning services. 

In Myanmar, our work has contributed to an increase in the percentage of deliveries attended by skilled birth attendants in two target areas – from 15% to 33.9% and from 21% to 32.9% in 2015.

Our increasing work in health governance has seen the passing of anti-discrimination legislation for people living with HIV in 2015 in Nigeria and the increased engagement of citizens in demanding accountability, resource allocation and quality health services through work in Malawi, Kenya, Ghana and Nigeria. 

We have increased our work on tackling inequitable social norms, through challenging gender-based violence, female genital mutilation and empowering women to increase their voice and participation in leadership and decision making. We have used SASA! (a community mobilisation intervention), Gender Empowerment and Development Organising Resource (GEADOR) circles and gender model families to reach people in Kenya, Nigeria and Sierra Leone. 

Our programmes are also encouraging the involvement of men in MCH and family planning using the Men as Partners and Father-to-Father approaches in Malawi and Kenya. We are increasingly engaging faith leaders in family planning and SRH response in Ethiopia and Burundi. 

Blogs and stories

12 June 2019

How the fight against Ebola is being hampered by issues with aid workers.

24 May 2019

A Dorset church changed tactics for this year’s Christian Aid Week, resulting in a healthy boost for mothers in Sierra Leone.

15 May 2019

Nurse Judith is an extraordinary woman providing a lifeline to mums and babies in Sierra Leone.

09 May 2019

Sierra Leone is the world's most dangerous place to give birth. In this blog, Joanna from our health team in Sierra Leone, explains how our adaptive and participatory approaches to programming are saving lives.

04 April 2019

Highlighting our global efforts to help achieve this objective

04 April 2019

An update on our programme to give life-saving support to 200,000 children in Nigeria

25 March 2019

Twenty years on from Don McCullin's groundbreaking images of a Christian Aid project, we consider the role of photography in our work.

18 February 2019

Sharing ideas to encourage families and toddler groups to fundraise in Christian Aid Week 2019

07 January 2019

How training in sanitary products is helping women in Afghanistan

12 December 2018

Our programmes

A small selection of our health programmes from around the world.

Reports and resources

An overview of the vision, aims and activities of our Nigeria country programme.

Christian Aid has been working in Ethiopia for more than 30 years, initially responding to emergencies, but gradually building a long-term programme.

Watch Jebbeh's story in her own words with this moving film for Christian Aid Week.

A prayer for all those affected by the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo. 

Set of 5 mixed red and white balloons. You will receive a set of these in your pack. Use this field to request additional sets.

For nearly two decades, Christian Aid Nigeria has partnered with national and local authorities, communities and civil society to tackle obstacles

Recommends how faith leaders can support Ebola recovery in Sierra Leone and Liberia, and discusses the broader role of faith in humanitarian response.

A reflection by the ACT Alliance Humanitarian Policy and Practice Advisory Group on the unique role of faith-based organisations in crises.

Christian Aid’s community health framework sets out how every member of society can enjoy the right to health services, based on our programme expe

This organisational policy document outlines Christian Aid's position on family planning.

Contact us

Want to know more? If you have any enquiries about our work, please contact us