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Monday, 7 April 2014

Celebrate frontline health workers!



Health workers are critical to the functioning of the health systems as they function as “gatekeepers and navigators for the effective, or wasteful application of all other resources such as drugs, vaccines and supplies.” Given the shortage of professional health workers (comprising doctors, nurses, dentists, medical technologists etc.) the world over, especially in LMICs, the importance of the health workers at the frontline of the community cannot be overemphasized. These frontline health workers comprise community health workers, midwives, health extension workers, physician and nurse assistants and also those doctors and nurses who work in the community--- in remote and hard-to-reach areas! 

Where the boundary of formal health infrastructure ends, these are the people who gives basic life-saving care such as immunization against childhood diseases or delivery with a skilled hand or imparting knowledge how to wash hand or continue exclusive breast feeding for first six months to prevent diarrhea. As a first point of contact, they are able to recognize when a help is needed and refers the patient to higher level of care. Without them, millions would have died. So, it’s high time that we appreciate and recognize their contribution in the health system and sensitize the policy makers about the necessity of ‘training, supplies and support’ so that they can discharge their duty effectively.

From 7th April this year, the Frontline Health Workers Coalition is going to observe the second World Health Worker Week to highlight and celebrate their work! This is the time for showing our “support, appreciation, and awareness about the important role of “ frontline health workers the world over, including Bangladesh. As the recent Lancet series on Bangladesh has shown the community approach to health service delivery and the various cadre of the community health workers have been instrumental in taking healthcare to the door steps of the people in an effective and efficient way. They provide a cost-effective bridge between the communities they serve and the primary health care (PHC) level facilities of formal Health Systems, though they are not part of it.  

During the WHWW, activists are taking various activities  to recognize and celebrate the frontline health workers through media coverage through writing case stories on their work experiences or letters to the editors, seven days of social media messaging in face book, twitter etc. and organizing various social events to award them some prizes and gifts as a token of recognition and so on. Lets join our hands to celebrate the week with similar activities in Bangladesh also and influence the policy makers and the healthcare establishment to integrate them in mainstream health systems! Three cheers for frontline health workers!

For further information: http://frontlinehealthworkers.org/wp-content/.../2014-ToolkitFinal_lores.pdf    

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