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United States Agency For International Development – Celebrates World Health Worker Week

World Affairs – Health

Open Eyes opinion {source: USAID}

April 6-10, 2015 is World Health Worker Week. Two smiling health officers at a health center in the SNNP Region of Ethiopia

This week, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) joins the global health community in commemorating World Health Worker Week.

The recent focus on Ebola in West Africa has reminded us of the need for strong and resilient health systems. Much like cholera preys on weak water systems after a disaster, Ebola is preying on a weak public health system after years of conflict and upheaval in Liberia. In addition, health system performance in many partner countries is challenged by critical health worker shortages, inadequate financing, poor or disjointed information systems, lack of essential information on public health threats, and inexperienced leadership.

According to the World Health Organization, at least 83 countries lack sufficient health workforces to provide essential health services to their populations. What this means is that at least 7.2 million doctors, nurses, and midwives are currently needed globally.

 

A strong health workforce composed of both facility- and community-based workers is essential for achieving an AIDS-free generation, ending preventable child and maternal deaths, and protecting communities from infectious diseases. Health workers are the backbone of strong health systems and ensure the most vulnerable and difficult to reach people around the world have access to appropriate services when and where they need them.

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Photo credit: Nena Terrell/USAID Ethiopia

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