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Scand J Soc Med. 1980;8(1):1-7.

The role of lay workers in community health education: experiences of the North Karelia project.


The role of natural community leaders in serving as lay health workers in a comprehensive community health programme has been explored. In rural Finland, nearly 300 persons were trained to detect cardiovascular risk factors (smoking, high-cholesterol diet, high blood pressure) in their communities, and to advise community members of the desirability of lowering these risk factors. Initial data from studies of the lay health workers and their intervention work support the concept that carefully select community health workers who are to varying degrees representative of their local populations, can well act as intermediaries in preventive health care strategies.

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