Village health workers (VHW) in Ogbomoso have been trained by the nearby Baptist Medical Centre to accept responsibility for the health and health education of the rural populace. They assume particular care in respect of child and maternal services. This analysis is based on over 800 interviews with women to compare villages with and without VHWs, and it attempts to quantify such measures as the percentage partaking in specific services (e.g. immunization and family planning). The survey emphasizes difficulties currently faced by VHWs including competition from commercial 'quacks' as well as unenthusiasm from persons of other religions and from women who prefer not to be advised by male VHWs. Knowledge of criticism should, however, be of value in upgrading the approaches offered by the VHW programme.