While traveling on a long, remote road to a village in southern Ethiopia we noticed the vast amount of dust and sand covering the trees. Every person walking along the road wore a head scarf to keep the swirl of dust out of their eyes and mouths. But most importantly, the road was long – possible twenty miles – all uphill to the nearest street from the village that is nestled squarely, yet pristinely in the valley. The road was extensive even for a ride in a SUV.
Can you imagine trying to walk this road when giving birth?
You would be astonished by the range of long distances people are from their closest health clinic or hospital in developing countries. Every Mother Counts did a superb job of bringing that fact to life in their video, The Walk. Do give it a look. For many who live in rural areas in poor and middle-income countries frontline health workers are their only chance of receiving much-needed health care from vaccines and malaria treatment to maternal health and infant deliveries.
Yesterday at the World Economic Forum Director of the Earth Institute and Columbia University professor Jeffrey Sachs, President of Rwanda Paul Kagame, and CEO of Novartis Joseph Jimenez announced the training of one million health workers in sub-Saharan Africa.
“The campaign will transform health care delivery across the continent and help some of the world’s poorest nations meet the health-related Millennium Development Goals,” said Sachs. “We are proud to be working with Novartis to launch this campaign and to work with African leaders to develop huge new cadres of community health workers to reach the rural populations.”
Frontline health workers form the backbone of health services for developing countries. Without them, most people would have no access to health care. You can read more about the one million health workers initiative on www.1millionhealthworkers.org. You can also read more about the work of health workers and why they are so important to the lives of people who live in the poorest countries in the world.
Photo and video copyright: Social Good Moms