Why health workers?
Health workers are critical to saving lives: they are the single most important element of any health service. Without them, no vaccine can be administered, no life-saving drugs prescribed, no family planning advice provided and no woman can be given expert care during childbirth. Without health workers conditions like pneumonia and diarrhoea – which can be treated easily by someone with the right skills, supplies and equipment – become deadly.
Health workers are vital for progress on maternal and child survival. Ensuring that a health worker is within reach, and is trained, equipped and supported, is crucial to the achievement of Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5. Health workers are also vital for addressing MDG 6, non-communicable diseases, and other important health and development issues.
However, the world is suffering from a massive gap of more than 3.5 million health workers. This includes a pressing need for at least 1 million community health workers and 350,000 midwives. Millions more existing health workers lack the support, equipment and training they need.
Who’s behind Health Workers Count?
Closing the global health worker gap, and addressing the barriers that prevent people from accessing the services of a skilled and supported health workers, requires strong political will at the national and global level.
In May 2011, a diverse range of organisations came together to issue an urgent call for world leaders to make new, substantial and specific commitments at the UN General Assembly to expand the number of health workers and better support those workers who are already in place.
Since then hundreds more organisations from around the world have added their voice to the call. See the latest list and sign up your organisation here.
All members of the Health Workers Count coalition share a vision where there is a health worker within reach of everyone, in every community. Together we are determined to help inspire action on health workers that will save millions of lives.
At the UN General Assembly in September 2011 many countries have made or reaffirmed commitments to increase the number of health workers as part of efforts to improve maternal, newborn and child health.
The Health Workers Count coalition will continue campaigning to ensure that these promises are turned into reality. We will also continue to call for governments, international donors and other key partners to take the actions required to ensure that every person is in reach of a fully trained and supported health worker.