PIH joins over a dozen global health organizations in urging more investment in frontline health workers in the developing world.
Partners In Health, Save the Children, and over a dozen other global health organizations launched a Frontline Health Worker Coalition on January 11, urging the U.S. Administration to invest in more and better-trained frontline health workers in the developing world.
The World Health Organization estimates that the developing world is facing a shortage of at least one million frontline health workers — community health workers and midwives, as well as doctors and nurses serving at the community level. Yet frontline health workers are the backbone of effective health systems and currently the best way to serve millions of families who live beyond the reach of hospitals and clinics. They connect patients to health services at the community, clinic, and hospital levels. And with adequate training and support, they provide families with a range of proven, life-saving services, including maternal and newborn care, child health, and management of chronic and communicable diseases, such as tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, and diabetes.
192 UN member states, including the United States, agreed to achieve the eight Millennium Development Goals by the year 2015, yet many developing countries lack the health workforce needed to reverse the incidence of disease and reduce deaths of mothers and children. Every day, nearly 21,000 children die from mostly preventable causes, and 1,000 girls and women die in pregnancy and childbirth. Without health workers there is no health care.
To help address the shortage of skilled, supported, and motivated frontline health workers, the Coalition is asking the U.S. for a commitment and a strategy to: (1) train and support an additional 250,000 new frontline health workers, and (2) better support the capacity and impact of existing workers, beginning with a strategic review of policy, skills, and supply gaps that constrain health worker effectiveness.
“The U.S. Global Health Initiative is well positioned to identify where the need is greatest, and to accompany countries in implementing emergency and long-term plans to address the heath workforce crisis,” said Meredy Throop, PIH’s Policy and Advocacy Coordinator. “But the longer we wait, the more lives will be lost.”
Please visit www.frontlinehealthworkers.org to learn more.