A Bangladeshi health worker is roaming in her catchment community to distribute drugs for Tuberculosis and making people aware of the disease. COURTESY: BRAC
Imagine a health worker — she saves lives every single day. She is amazing! Like many of us she may dream more; and that dream might take her to big cities. Maybe you don't have to imagine this much — this is what is happening time and time again around us.
She might get a job in a private clinic; may be she moves abroad to chase her dream where she works in a hospital.
Now imagine what happens to the people she left behind. Women die while giving birth with no health worker to help them; nobody in the village gets vaccinated; children are dying from pneumonia and diarrhoea. People don't know how to protect themselves from HIV, Malaria and TB.
It would only take one health worker for a community of five thousands people. It is hard to imagine a billion people without a health worker. But it is true that billions of people across the world never see a health worker in their whole lives, especially in developing countries!
Now cheer up! Imagine the health worker stays. What would it take to make her stay? Imagine investing in her. Imagine paying her a living wage; imagine giving her quality training that she come pass on; imagine giving her proper tools to get a job — now she has got support and feels safe. She has also got the respect from people around her.
People in the community listen to her and learn. She is important to the community. People value her. Imagine what would happen then? Over the years, she could save hundred lives. She could inspire and train hundreds of others to become health workers like her. Then they could save some many more millions of lives — imagine that!
And imagine what happens next — a health worker for everyone, everywhere — imagine that! Now help us make it happen.
This was visualised in a documentary by the Global Health Workforce Alliance. Crisis of human resource on health is a severe problem not only for developing countries, but also for some developed countries. Investing on the health workforce could be the effective solution to combat many diseases taking toll of billion of people.
E-mail: tareq.salahuddin @thedailystar.net