Community health workers (CHW) may be effective in tackling the burden of cardiovascular diseases in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC). This review examines whether CHWs can improve the identification and control of cardiovascular risk factors in LMIC. We searched for studies that used CHW as a basis for cardiovascular risk factor management. Our search yielded 11 articles that targeted cardiovascular risk factor assessment, hypertension, diabetes, smoking, diet and physical activity. There were 4 randomized controlled trials, 3 quasi-experimental studies, 3 cross-sectional studies, and 1 retrospective analysis. Eight studies reported positive results with CHW being able to effectively screen for cardiovascular risk factors, decrease systolic blood pressure, decrease fasting blood glucose, increase quit rates of smoking, decrease weight, and improve diet and physical activity. Our review demonstrates that CHW may be effective in helping tackle the burden of cardiovascular disease in LMIC.
Copyright © 2016 World Heart Federation (Geneva). Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.