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jraineharrison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

A lay health professional is an individual who has training in a specific health care intervention but no certified or tertiary qualifications in the health professions.  An example of a lay health professional may be a specifically trained hair stylist, as those in Michigan, who participated in a health care intervention to educate African American men about kidney and diabetic health.

CDC: The [National Kidney Foundation of Michigan Healthy Hair Starts with a Healthy Body (Healthy Hair)] campaign trains African American hair stylists to promote healthy behaviors with their clients through a “health chat” and by providing diabetes and hypertension risk assessment information and incentives.

The benefits of lay health individuals is that individuals can educate and promote health in their communities.

WHO: A ’lay health worker’ was defined as any health worker carrying out functions related to healthcare delivery, trained in some way in the context of the intervention, and having no formal professional or paraprofessional certificate or tertiary education degree.

Authors’ conclusions
LHWs provide promising benefits in promoting immunisation up take and breastfeeding, improving TB treatment outcomes, and reducing child morbidity and mortality when compared to usual care.

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