Today we welcome a guest post from Scott Weathers and Vince Blaser of IntraHealth International and the Frontline Health Workers Coalition (FHWC) about a House Resolution their organizations have been working on. In the field, World Vision sees the critical role that front line health workers play every day, and we are proud members of FHWC.
By Scott Weathers and Vince Blaser
April 3-9 is World Health Worker Week and we at the Frontline Health Workers Coalition, and advocates around the world, are celebrating the amazing impact of these people in their communities. Find and share the stories of health workers who are making a difference by following #WHWWeek and #HealthWorkersCount on social media.
Since 1990, deaths of children under 5 have dropped by more than half and deaths related to pregnancy and childbirth have dropped by 44 percent. Without the dedication of world health workers to their communities, this massive progress over the last two decades would not have been possible. Yet, more than 400 million people worldwide still lack access to all the essential health services trained and supported frontline health workers can provide.
Our leaders in Congress need to hear that you stand with health workers on the frontlines – essential to end preventable maternal and child deaths within a generation – in the fight for an AIDS-free generation, and for security from threats like Ebola.
The bipartisan House Resolution 419, led by Representatives Nita Lowey (D-NY) and Ander Crenshaw (R-FL), is a promising step forward.
This resolution would recognize the enormous impact of these health workers, whose work often puts their own well-being in great danger. It would also urge strong U.S. leadership and a coordinated U.S. government-wide action plan on frontline health workers to ensure we’re getting the most from our taxpayer investments in global health.
Programs led by the United States like the President’s Emergency Program for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) depend on frontline health workers to achieve results. Preventing diseases like Zika and Ebola will also require a greater focus on empowering frontline health workers.
A recent analysis concluded that nearly one in 14 health workers in Liberia died during the Ebola epidemic. The World Bank estimates that more than 4,000 women could die during pregnancy in Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone as a direct result of the health workers lost to Ebola.
This World Health Worker Week we have the power to make sure that health workers are able to have an even greater impact on saving lives and preventing future epidemics.
A version of this blog was cross-posted on the blogs of the ONE Campaign, the Frontline Health Workers Coalition, and IntraHealth International.
Photo: Trevor Snapp for IntraHealth International.