Community Health Worker, Daniel Cassell
Last Mile Health saves lives in the world’s most remote communities by partnering with governments to design, scale, strengthen, and sustain networks of community health workers who bring high-quality, lifesaving health care within reach of millions of rural people. In Liberia, maternal and under-five child mortality ratios are amongst the highest in the world and even more dire in remote areas, where hundreds of thousands of Liberians spend hours or even days travelling on motorbike, on foot, or by canoe through dense rainforest to reach basic health care.
Recognizing that health needs are greatest in the most remote communities, the Government of Liberia, in partnership with Last Mile Health, launched a groundbreaking initiative that will extend lifesaving health care to all 1.2 million people in Liberia living more than five kilometers from a clinic or hospital. Through the National Community Health Assistant (CHA) Program, Daniel is one of more than 3,000 community health workers in Liberia who are providing essential primary health services to their communities.
Moved by the all-too-common tragedies that occur simply because people live too far from a health facility, Daniel volunteered at his local clinic when he moved to remote Rivercess County, sharing health promotion messages with remote communities. “When I came here, there was nobody to carry people to the health center, to give pregnant women help, to send them to antenatal care visits, for vaccines – nobody! So I started going to [other] hard-to-reach areas. I forced myself, I sent myself all around the hard-to-reach areas.”
When the Government of Liberia launched the National CHA Program in 2016 – a program which would ensure that all workers like Daniel are trained, paid, supervised and equipped - the Ministry of Health visited Daniel’s community to seek nominations for community health workers. Daniel was chosen by his community, and through eight weeks of training and regular supervision, he has been empowered to provide reproductive, maternal, and neonatal health care services, as well as to diagnose and treat common childhood illnesses, monitor for disease outbreaks, and provide health education and referral for non-communicable diseases directly in his community. “Now, I’m very happy - no more maternal deaths or still births in my community, the children are getting vaccines. Everything is going on fine.”
Last Mile Health is committed to supporting community and frontline health workers like Daniel to bring primary health care within reach of everyone, everywhere. For the first time, children and families living in Daniel's community - in the heart of Liberia's dense rainforest and far from a health center - can now access health care right at their doorstep. Daniel's favorite part of his work is "being with my people. I don’t love sitting – I get to see friends and we can talk when I go around performing routine health visits. I can help my people.”
National Community Health Assistant Program guide
Baby Nelson, born in a nearby clinic in Rivercess