REACHOUT is a healthcare research project supporting and strengthening the vital work of close-to-community providers of health care in Africa and Asia.

The REACHOUT project has three aims in the delivery of public health services:

  • equity,
  • effectiveness, and
  • efficiency

REACHOUT is coordinated by the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine in the UK and involves six partner healthcare organisations across eight countries working together. REACHOUT is paid for by the European Union under the European Commission's Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Technological development (FP7). For more information about the Programme please see the donor page.

Who are close-to-community health workers?

A close-to-community provider is a health worker who carries out promotional, preventive and/or curative health services and who is first point of contact at community level. A close-to-community provider can be based in the community or in a basic primary facility. A close-to-community provider has at least a minimum level of training in the context of the intervention that they carry out and not more than two to three years para-professional training. Close-to-community providers include a broad variety of health workers, including community health workers and auxiliary health workers.They often live and work in their communities providing many different healthcare services, including health education, counselling, screening, diagnostics, and treatment. They often work with the most pressing issues such as HIV, malaria, maternal and child health, and tuberculosis (TB). For more detail on the close-to-community providers that we will be working with see our Definitions page.

Close-to-community health workers and public health policy

Although close-to-community providers are highly valued in some healthcare systems, many public health systems do not involve them in policy making. This has lead to a disconnect between healthcare policy and the workers delivering healthcare services direct to individuals, families, and communities. This disconnect has resulted in loss of motivation and problems with health worker retention.

Because close-to-community providers  live and work within their communities, visiting people in their homes and workplaces every day, REACHOUT believes that they can have a vital role in informing realistic healthcare policies that deliver results at community level.

By promoting links between close-to-community providers of health care and policy makers, REACHOUT supports countries as they strive to provide universal health coverage and to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).


This project is funded by the European Union.
This project is funded by the European Union.