An action research project was carried out by a team from the National Public Health Management Centre in Tabriz, Iran to test the following hypothesis: Health Volunteers are more able to support health improvements by focusing on community participation and empowerment through facilitating communities to define and solve their own problems than by only providing information on health problems. Training on participatory approaches was given to Women Health Volunteers (WHV) in a pilot area. The results gave evidence that local people could identify and act upon their own health needs and request more information from professionals to improve their own health. Further research is needed however to assess how the pilot can be scaled up and how initial enthusiasm can be sustained.
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